Family’s grief for hit-and-run victim ‘unbearable pain’

The mother of a 25-year-old Frenchman, killed in Ireland by a hit-and-run driver who later fled the country, has spoken publicly for the first time of the pain his death has caused, and thanked the people who supported her family.

On Oct 31, Gabriel Lege was knocked down by a white Ford Transit-type van as he was walking over a pedestrian crossing in Cork City centre.

Mr Lege, who had lived in Ireland for almost three years, was rushed to hospital but died a short time later.

The incident occurred shortly after 9.30pm at George’s Quay, when the city centre was packed with Halloween party-goers and late night shoppers.

His mother, Sylvie, said her son, who worked at Apple Computers in Hollyhill, loved Cork and Ireland.

She said her son was “knocked down in the prime of his youth” and “his head was filled with plans for the future”.

“He loved life... He lost his life, someone took his life,” said Sylvie. “We, his family, are going to have to live with this unbearable pain, with this terrible loss of him.”

She said she and Gabriel’s brother Maxime and sister Sandrine wanted to thank all of those who helped them in one way or another when they came to Cork to bring Gabriel back to be buried in his home town of Olonne- sur-Mer, on France’s Atlantic seaboard.

“We were given such a warm and kind welcome in Cork,” said Sylvie. “Thanks to the two policemen, they will recognise themselves, who accompanied us during these five long days of procedures, thanks for all the attention they showed us.”

Sylvie also thanked senior gardaí, including Superintendent Barry McPolin, for their messages of support.

“We would also like to thank all of Gabriel’s colleagues in Apple,” she said. “Thanks to his managers who welcomed us so kindly and spoke highly of Gabriel. Thanks to all of Gabriel’s friends who came forward and showed support.”

She also thanked members of the media who covered Garda appeals for witnesses to the incident.

“I may be forgetting some people, but I’m sure they’ll excuse me,” Sylvie said, adding she hoped justice would be done some day and that the driver would appear before the courts.

Supt McPolin said the Garda investigation is ongoing and they were maintaining contact with the dead man’s family.

“We would again make an appeal to the driver to come forward,” he said.


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