Belfast Telegraph

Boy, eight, killed on way to school

An eight-year-old boy has died after being knocked down by a car on the morning school run.

Adam Gilmour was with his mother Sarah Hanna and five siblings when they were hit while walking along a country road in Northern Ireland. The mangled remains of a pram were visible at the crash scene.

One man aged 18 has been arrested.

The other children are stable or have been discharged from hospital, the health authorities said. One was not injured.

The accident happened on the outskirts of the village of Cloughmills, Co Antrim.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Inspector Stephen McCauley said: "This fatal collision brings the number of fatalities on our roads this year to 69. The fact that a child has died on the way to school this morning heaps tragedy upon an already stark figure."

The youngsters, who a neighbour said ranged in age from toddler to teenage, were on the Loughill Road when the collision happened at around 8.30am.

At the scene, a wrecked pram, pink bag and other items belonging to the victims lay where they came to rest. A damaged red car was nearby.

Overhead a police helicopter hovered while forensics experts in boiler suits collected evidence.

The chief inspector said Adam's mother along with four of his siblings received treatment in hospitals in Belfast, Antrim and Coleraine for a range of injuries, some of which were serious. One child was not injured and is being looked after by a relative, he added.

Jim Allister, a North Antrim member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, said Ms Hanna warned him of the danger weeks ago.

"The event is all the more distressing because just three weeks ago the mother called at my office and warned that because the education and library board was failing to provide transport for her children they would be 'wiped out' some morning on the road. The lady was particularly concerned that this situation was continuing into the winter months."

Neighbours said she brought her children to the centre of the village every day for onward transport to schools in the wider area.

Mr Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader, added: "I am most distressed that her words have proved to be much more prophetic than anyone would have thought."

A local resident said: "They were lovely wee children, terribly good looking and well-dressed and well provided for."

She added that the road had no footpath or lights.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) confirmed that a family with pupils attending Clough Primary School, in a neighbouring village a few miles from Cloughmills, was involved.

The education authority added: "The board is working closely with the school and our thoughts are with the family at this time."

It said: "The NEELB can confirm that the NEELB transport service has received correspondence from Mr Allister and the board has been reviewing transport provision in the Cloughmills area. The board had agreed to meet with Mr Allister to discuss the concerns raised in his statement.

"As a result of the road traffic collision the board is focussed on working closely with the schools and the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time."

John Finlay, Democratic Unionist councillor in Cloughmills, said the close-knit rural community had been left stunned.

"If there are things that need to be assessed in terms of the dangers on the roads they will have to be looked at, but at this stage my first thoughts go to the family."

The Ulster Unionist Party's North Antrim MLA Robin Swann said: "The entire Cloughmills community will share my shock at the news that a woman and six children were involved in this morning's traffic collision on the Loughill Road in the village."

Sinn Fein councillor Philip McGuigan described the collision as a "terrible tragedy".

He said: "I can say that this feeling is only amplified by the fact that it was young children walking to school with their mother who were at the centre of this accident.


From Belfast Telegraph