“SHE had everything going for her — high dreams, high hopes, everything, all taken away from her,” Jennifer Haynes, mother of Kimberly O’Connor, said as the teenage driver who caused her daughter’s death was sentenced to four years in detention.
“This gives the family a little peace that we got justice for Kimberly,” Jennifer said.
“Kimberly was just an unbelievable child. Had dreams — high dreams and hopes — and it was all taken away from her. Kimberly dreamed big, she was a superstar and she will always be our superstar. She is shining down now.”
Ms Haynes felt it was very important that Kimberly’s name would be included in coverage of the case, saying: “She deserves to be named — very important.”
Because of a Covid-19 outbreak at Oberstown detention centre in Dublin, 17-year-old Daniel Wyse could not appear in Cork Circuit Criminal Court in person and instead spoke by video link.
“Kimberly and her family will always be in my thoughts and prayers,” Daniel Wyse said yesterday. He said to the late Kimberly’s family, “I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. My actions have taken your beautiful daughter.
“It has been a nightmare. I will live the rest of my life with regret for taking someone else’s life. I am not the kind of bad person the guards are making out. I made a huge decision that night to drive… taking my own friend’s life.”
Saying he would always think of and pray for Kimberly and her family, he added, “May she rest in peace.”
Daniel Wyse’s mother, Margaret O’Sullivan, said the nightmare of the tragic fatality would remain in their lives, as a result of what she described as an accident that no one could foresee.
“He was a happy child before this tragic accident. It has turned Daniel’s and our lives upside down. He never brought any grief or trouble before. Since that night he has suffered severe anxiety, depression and nightmares.
“I have never seen a child more remorseful for this tragic accident. He never set out for it to happen. I wonder is my son ever going to get through this.”
Ms O’Sullivan said she could not imagine the grief being experienced by Kimberly’s family and she expressed her family’s deep condolences to them.
“This never-ending nightmare will never leave our hearts and our conscience,” Daniel Wyse’s mother said.
Jennifer Haynes said in her victim impact statement, “I was waiting for my daughter to come home and I jumped with horror from the bang outside my door.
“With severe fright, we ran to the front door to discover the fatal car crash,” she said.
“I rang my daughter’s phone to see where she was. Her phone at this stage was ringing out. Little did I realise at that point that my child [was] lying dead in the car that had crashed in front of our house.
“When we found out it was my child dead in the car, my whole world came crashing in on top of me. From that point on I wanted to die. I will never be able to come to terms with my child’s death.”
Kimberly’s sister, Shannon, told how she will never be the same person after Kimberly’s death. “Her death has changed me as a person mentally and I will never be able to accept it or get over it — I miss her so much, and knowing I will not see her again until it is my day, kills me,” she said.
Another sister, Britney, said: “It is so sad to be praying to your baby sister at night.
“She should be here, not in heaven. We have to visit a graveyard every day to be with my sister. We can’t hug and kiss her at night. My heart is so broke it won’t ever be filled again until I see my sister again.”