Victim’s friend appeals for hit-and-run driver to come forward

Gabriel Jean Lege: Family distraught.

A friend of the Frenchman who was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Cork last week has issued an emotional appeal for the driver to come forward.

Paris-based Eve-Marie Leroy, a close friend of Gabriel Jean Lege, who died after being knocked down in the city last Thursday, said his family is distraught.

“We need to know what happened to try to accept and understand this surreal fact,” she said. “I know that to err is human, but I do not understand the cowardice. I really hope that the driver of the van will produce himself [to the police] for his honour and out of respect for Gabriel.”

Her appeal came last night as gardaí confirmed that they have traced the route the white van took after it struck Gabriel and failed to stop at around 9.30pm on George’s Quay on Halloween night.

Gabriel, who worked for Apple at Hollyhill, and who was due to move into a new apartment in the Elysian last weekend, died in Cork University Hospital a few hours later from his injuries.

Supt Barry McPolin said detectives are still examining CCTV footage and the investigation is progressing well, thanks to cooperation from the public.

A Garda liaison officer spent yesterday with Mr Lege’s mother and his brother, who arrived in the city on Monday. They are making final arrangements for the repatriation of Gabriel’s remains for burial in his hometown, Olonne-Sur-Mer, in the Vendee region in western France, in the coming days.

Ms Leroy said their families lived in the same building in Paris and Gabriel was more like a brother to her.

“We were raised together since we were three,” she said. “I call him my brother because this is how we felt and my family is like his second family.”

She said Gabriel left France for Ireland with little English about three years ago, but, after working in McDonalds and Blizzard, he picked up the language quickly.

“Since his childhood, he was a big fan of video games and he was proud to work for Blizzard Entertainment,” she said. “Finally, he found a good job in Apple and decided to live in the most beautiful place of Cork for him — The Elysian. He loved to say that life was like the movies, if we wanted — and he did everything for his dreams, and those of his relatives, to come true. It was really an example for me, his and my family and many of his French friends. He really was also a righteous and faithful man — always there when we needed. We always said he was a caricature of the perfect man. Despite the distance, we continued to speak together weekly and he came often to see our family in France.”

She said she visited him in Cork and was “reassured by the tranquility” of the city, compared with Paris.

She said that makes it more difficult for the families to accept that Gabriel was taken from them in such tragic circumstances.

But she said a memorial arranged by his colleagues at Apple, and messages of support from people in Cork, have been of great support to Gabriel’s family and friends.


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