Belfast Telegraph

We’ll never forget our little boy, say grieving parents killed in lorry accident

By Adrian Rutherford

The heartbroken Co Tyrone parents of a toddler killed after being run over by a reversing lorry have said he will always be a part of their lives.

Little Tadhg Sweeney was playing at his grandfather’s home near Carrickmore when the accident occurred last May.

The two-year-old was fatally injured after stepping into the lorry’s path following a brief lapse in concentration by his father.

During yesterday’s inquest at Omagh coroner’s court, parents Clare and Paul said their son’s memory would live on.

Asked by coroner John Leckey how Tadhg’s three young brothers coped with his death, Clare said: “He’s always with them.”

Paul added: “They talk about him constantly, from morning to night.

“There is always a place reserved for Tadhg — no matter what we do.”

People were visibly upset as the court heard how Tadhg had been playing at his grandfather’s home on the Camlough Road on the afternoon of May 18 last year.

At around 5.30pm, Liam Charles Mullin, a family friend and mechanic from Spring Road near Omagh who had been working there that day, started to reverse a lorry.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Mullin recalled putting it in reverse and releasing the handbrake, believing the way behind was clear.

However, after slowly reversing a few metres, he recalled feeling a bump “as if the wheels had gone over something”.

Paul Sweeney said he had let his son out of his sight for a split second.

The toddler’s grandfather, Danny Sweeney, had been working in the garage when he looked out and saw Tadhg lying on the ground.

Mr Sweeney listened in tears as his statement, in which he described how the lorry’s wheels had run over Tadhg’s body, was read out.

“He was completely limp in my arms,” his statement said.

“His head was limp.”

Mr Mullin also recalled how Tadhg lay motionless in the moments after the accident.

“He just looked like he was sleeping there was no crying, he was just limp,” he said.

His parents took Tadhg to Tyrone County Hospital.

He was transferred to Altnagelvin Hospital, but died soon afterwards.

Mr Mullin told the court that he “will never get over” the tragedy and had relived it “many times”.

Brian Price of the Health and Safety Executive said the lorry was not fitted with a bleeper, which makes a warning sound when the vehicle is reversing.

However, forensic expert Lindsay McCormick said Tadhg’s young age meant a bleeper may have made no difference, as he would have had no perception of danger signs.

She said the area behind lorries was often “a blind spot” for drivers, and in this case had probably made it impossible to see the child.

Finding that Tadhg had died after being run over by the lorry, Mr Leckey said it was a tragic accident which could not have been foreseen.

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