Belfast Telegraph

Family of tragic OAP warned of dangers on Killard Road

By Rebecca Black

The family of a pensioner killed in a crash said it was only a matter of time before someone died on the stretch of road.

Patrick Wilkinson (72) had been standing outside his family's farm on the Killard Road just outside Ballyhornan, Co Down, last Wednesday afternoon when he was struck in what has been claimed was a race between two cars.

Two men aged 19 and 20 were arrested in connection with the incident, but have been released by the PSNI pending further inquiries.

Mr Wilkinson's son-in-law Pat Magee said the family – including his father-in-law – had been campaigning since last September to build a footpath along the road, even giving up land to make it possible.

"A lot of the landowners have given up land through the village for a footpath to try and get people off the road," he said.

"The settlement had grown quite a bit, people have to walk the public road. At least on the footpath you have a chance."

Mr Magee had been standing beside Mr Wilkinson when the accident happened.

"He was flung 50-odd feet down the road. What killed Paddy saved me, that's just the way it goes," he said. "Nobody should have to go through that. It was not a pretty sight to see your father-in-law trapped under a car.

Mr Wilkinson was originally from Ballinderry, Co Tyrone, but had moved to Co Down to spend time with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. His funeral took place on Sunday.

Mr Magee said every family along the Derrycrin Road where he had lived stood at their gateways with bowed heads as his remains passed.

"He had retired down here beside his only daughter," he said.

"He was a very quiet man, he did not say much, but he was a bit of a wind-up artist who loved to play practical jokes. He was definitely a family man, a man who saw things needed done and would get on and get them done."

Mr Wilkinson, who worked as a foreman in cable ducting before retirement, is survived by his wife Bernie and daughter Pauline.

A spokeswoman for Roads Service said: "As a police investigation is ongoing into the tragic fatal accident it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

"The PSNI will however advise us if they have any concerns about road safety in this area."

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