Father of girl killed in crash describes 'sickening' Snapchat videos made beforehand

Katie Murphy

Update: The father of a girl killed in a car crash has described Snapchat videos made just before the fatal accident as “absolutely sickening.”

Hilary Murphy lost his 16-year-old daughter, Katie, two and a half years ago, when a car driven by Edward O'Shea, then aged 17, collided with a wall in Tramore, Co Waterford.

O'Shea, now aged 19, from Magnh, Fenor, Co Waterford, received a 14-month prison sentence this week for careless driving and causing the death of Ms Murphy in a crash on October 5, 2016.

Judge Eugene O'Kelly, who also disqualified O'Shea from driving for six years, said some young drivers treated the roads “as some form of racetrack” without any regard for their passengers or other road users.

Mr Murphy said Katie, who was an extremely popular girl, was on Snapchat shortly before the crash but the videos were not shown to the jury because of the hearsay rule.

Mr Murphy said the video showed Katie, saying to her friends that the car was being driven over the speed limit.

Somebody in the front of the car said they were travelling at double the speed limit and laughed.

Another video was from Katie's friend who said they were going to be killed in the car and the person in the front of the vehicle agreed.

“It is absolutely sickening,” said Mr Murphy.

He had not viewed the videos because they disappear after a number of hours as they are designed to do.

Mr Murphy said gardaí had travelled to California where they got a court order to get records from Snapchat but, unfortunately, they could not get evidence of what was said.

Katie died as a result of severe head and chest injuries while two other passengers, Joseph Walsh, and Jessica Flynn suffered life-transforming injuries.

Earlier, Mr Murphy, who was speaking on RTÉ radio, said he and his wife, Vivienne, went for a walk on the night their daughter was killed.

“We asked Katie would she come and she said she would but changed her mind because she wanted to finish some homework.”

When the couple were out O'Shea called to the house with one of Katie's friends and asked her to go to Tramore.

“We didn't even realise that she had left the house,” said Mr Murphy.

Mr Murphy said he got a call from a woman who lived about 50 yards from where the crash happened.

She told him that Katie had been involved in an accident and he should go to the scene immediately.

Mr Murphy said his family arrived at the scene at the same time to see Katie being taken out on a board through the back window of the car.

The window had popped out with the impact and members of the fire brigade had cut off the roof of the car.

“I went over and had a look at Katie and pretty much realised that she was gone,” said Mr Murphy.

O'Shea was driving a high-powered, modified Toyota coupé registered in the name of his family's garage business – Edward O'Shea's that was capable reaching speeds of over 240 km/h

O'Shea had a provisional licence since the previous May but there was no qualified driver in the car with him.

Mr Murphy has started a campaign called Odd Socks for Katie to encourage young people to tell dangerous drivers to stop and get out of the car.

Having their parents come out and collect them was much better than having them arrive home in a hearse, he added.

Earlier: Father of 16-year-old girl killed in road accident says life is 'unrecognisable'

By Vivienne Clarke

The father of a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a road accident has criticised the length of time it takes for such cases to come to court.

Hilary Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast of the anguish and hardship his family had gone through in the two and a half years since his daughter Katie died in an accident when a car driven by Edward O’Shea, 19, was involved in an accident.

On Tuesday, Edward O’Shea from Magnh, Fenor, Co Waterford, was sentenced to 14 months in prison for careless driving causing the death of Ms Murphy in a crash in October 2016.

O’Shea pleaded guilty at Waterford Circuit Court in January to careless driving causing the death of Ms Murphy, who was from Ballinamona in Waterford, and careless driving causing serious harm to friends Joseph Walsh and Jessica Flynn.

Family of the late Katie Murphy outside Waterford courthouse after Edward O’Shea was sentenced to 14 months in prison: Scott (Katie’s brother), Vivienne (mother) and Hilary (father)
Family of the late Katie Murphy outside Waterford courthouse after Edward O’Shea was sentenced to 14 months in prison: Scott (Katie’s brother), Vivienne (mother) and Hilary (father)

The pleas were not accepted by the State and he went on trial at the circuit court earlier this year on charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing serious harm, but was convicted by a jury of the careless driving causing death and serious harm charges.

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison, concurrent, on each of the careless driving charges, by Judge O’Kelly on Tuesday and also banned from driving for six years.

The judge also fined him €800 for driving on a learner permit without being accompanied by a qualified driver.

We waited two and a half years to get to court. These cases should be dealt with as quickly as possible.

“In the judicial system everything moves at the pace they determine.”

Mr Murphy told of how his life is “unrecognisable”.

“Every morning I wake up and the first thing that comes to mind is that Katie is gone.”

He admitted that relationships within the family have suffered since Katie’s death and that he is “relying on medication”.

The court case “brought everything back so vividly. All the evidence in court, it was just horrible, absolutely horrible”.

When asked about the introduction of speed limiters in cars, Mr Murphy said that he thought they were a good idea.

His advice to young drivers is “behave yourself”.

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