Belfast Telegraph

Cloughmills tragedy: 'Adam's lifeless body was just lying there... I wanted to hold his wee hand'

By Chris Kilpatrick

The devastating sight of her grandchildren lying across the road minutes after being struck by a car will never leave Marlene Hanna.

Among them was eight-year-old Adam Gilmour, who was rapidly losing his fight for life.

Moments earlier Adam's nine-year-old brother Kyle had ran to Marlene's house, begging for help for his stricken siblings.

He was the only child to emerge unscathed when the vehicle collided with the group of six youngsters and their mother Sarah.

"Wee Adam was lying there," Mrs Hanna told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I just wanted to pick him up but they wouldn't let me.

"It was carnage. I came up that road and all my wee grandchildren were lying there.

"It's a sight that will never leave me. His wee lifeless body just lying there. I just wanted to hold his wee hand."

While she was telling her story, Mrs Hanna received a phone call from the police to say they were returning the children's belongings, including the glasses Adam had been wearing as he set off for primary school.

"His football is lying in the back garden," she continued.

"I can't believe we won't see him again.

"My husband has terminal cancer, I buried my son and now I'm burying my grandson. I'm wondering if there is a God up there.

"None of those children will be on that road again. They will not be going to school until transport is sorted."

The conditions at the time of the crash were said to be awful, dark with heavy downpours.

No footpaths line the route, which local people described as "treacherous".

Sarah walked with the children along the half-mile stretch every morning where they met a bus at the bottom of the road to take them to Clough Primary School.

She had recently urged the local education board to provide transport along the road, fearing her children would be "wiped out" unless something was done.

Michelle Johnston, an aunt of Adam, said his mother did not remember the crash.

"The hospital told her about Adam but she forgot," she said.

"When I arrived I went over to her and said: 'Sarah, Adam's dead, sweetheart'.

"She said 'Michelle, please, please don't tell me that'.

"Now she knows. She said that his funeral would kill her."

Residents in the small Co Antrim village yesterday left floral tributes where the children were struck.

At their school, classmates held a special assembly and made cards for Adam's family.

The principal of Clough Primary School described him as a "character".

Craig Whyte said: "Adam was a pleasant pupil.

"He enjoyed his playtimes, break-time and lunchtime and loved PE classes. He loved his life and his time at school.

"He was such a character to his classmates.

"They just knew him as being that fun-loving guy who kept them going at times."

Michelle said Adam was "loving and loveable".

"He loved farming and tractors. He was just a wee dote," she added.

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