Ciaran Lane, aged 25, of Ashington Avenue, Cabra, Dublin, was jailed for five years for causing the death of 23-month-old Vanessa Siatka at Ratra Triangle, Phoenix Park, on April 6, 2015.
The child’s mother, Katarzyna, said she and husband Lukasz could only watch as her “baby was taken away” from her.
The following is an abridged version of the victim impact statement made in court:
When we became pregnant with our baby Vanessa, it was like a present from God. We were so happy as parents to be having a baby together. We began to plan our future together with our baby.
Vanessa was born on the May 11, 2013. That was the best day of our lives. The moment we saw Vanessa, we fell in love with her. Every single day Vanessa gave us her love, her smile, and the strength and enthusiasm to exist every day.
Vanessa made our lives complete.
Everything myself and Lukasz did in our lives was for Vanessa.
We moved to our new home late in 2014. I remember how excited she was about moving to our new home, having her own bedroom, and a new bed. Lukasz and I had lived in Ireland for over 12 years; we had made Ireland our home and we made our home here in Dublin for our family’s future.
We had a very happy home and a very happy life. We always had a very open home. We have a large circle of friends, who also have young children. They would come to visit us and we would go to visit them in their homes. Vanessa made so many new friends.
She loved to go to her friends’ homes for parties and special occasions and they also came to us. Vanessa was a very happy and active child. She loved to go swimming, to the park or playground, or to the activity centre to play with other children.
Vanessa was a very sociable and friendly child. She would introduce herself to other children and play with them, even children she had never met before. Every day we thought of new things to do, new surprises, new activities for Vanessa and for all of us as a family. Every day was fulfilled with activity and happiness for all of us.
We travelled a lot with Vanessa, we travelled around Ireland to show her new things; scenery; we brought her to see the mountains and the sea. We travelled to Poland with Vanessa and she met all of her family in Poland. She had a wonderful time meeting everyone.
On Easter Sunday, 2015, we had a gathering in our home with family and friends to celebrate Easter. It was a nice sunny day. Easter Monday was another beautiful sunny day in Dublin but we could never have imagined what would happen that evening.
What started out as a plan to spend my evening with Vanessa in the Phoenix Park to meet friends, play, and pick flowers, ended in a nightmare. In one moment we were happy, playing and enjoying ourselves in the park; in the next moment I hear the loud music, a loud engine, and everything just happened so quickly; I couldn’t do anything only watch as my baby was taken away from me. For me, that was the moment that time and my heart stopped.
The moment the car hit Vanessa, it not only swept her away physically, it also took her away from us. Although we know the paramedics and staff at Temple Street tried to save Vanessa, it was at this moment our child was taken from us. All I could do was run to my baby.
I spoke to her. I told her I loved her and everything would be OK, Daddy was on the way. I prayed for her, but as she lay on the road a small tear came from her eye and I knew in my heart that this was her last ‘goodbye Mammy’.
Our hearts were shattered, Lukasz and I. Life stopped. We did not know how to exist, how to sleep, how to eat, how to wake up. Every day is a nightmare, even to breath was difficult. I still have nightmares about the accident, they never go away.
Without Vanessa, we will never be the same, never as happy as we were. Vanessa’s room is empty, our home is empty, our lives are empty. For the rest of our lives every day will be a challenge. Our hearts will always be broken because a part of both of us died with Vanessa, People keep telling us time is a healer. It’s not. Our life now is empty.
We visit Vanessa’s grave every day to pray, to talk to her, and to be there with her. What else can we do? Vanessa will always be in our memories but we can never see her or hold her again. Only our faith and our love and our angel Vanessa looking over us helps us to exist.
We would like to express our thanks for the support of our friends and family; the medical staff at Temple Street Hospital; and all the members of the Garda Síochána involved in this investigation.
We thank our community, the Irish public, and everyone who offered condolences, support, and prayers. We would like to offer special thanks to our family liaison officer, Sgt Niall Phelan. We hope that Vanessa’s death will be a strong message to everyone to never ever drink or take drugs when driving.