The family of a Cork toddler who died in a crash that also killed his unborn sister and left his parents fighting for their lives have spoken of their heartbreak.
Two-year-old Oisín Twomey and his father Con, 39, and mother Elber, 36, were on holiday in the UK when the high-speed collision happened in Torquay, Devon, last Friday.
Relatives said the couple had already named their second child Elber Marie, and she had been “born an angel”.
Mr and Mrs Twomey both come from tight-knit families in Meelin, Kanturk, Co Cork, and their parents and siblings flew to the UK after receiving news of the crash.
Their relatives are maintaining bedside vigils at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth where the couple remain seriously ill.
In a statement released by Devon and Cornwall Police, they said: “Con and Elber Twomey, devoted husband and wife, father and mother to Oisin, who was the light of their lives, are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone who knew them at this time.
“The shock of the events, which took place last Friday afternoon, are still so raw and heartfelt.
“Con and Elber, like so many of the good things in life, always came together. The pride they had in the life shared with Oisin was so obvious to all who met them.
“The expectation they had of the child Elber carried adding to this happiness was also so real. As they lie ill, this loss is so hard to take.
“Embedded in their home community, Meelin and Rockchapel Parish in north-west Cork, Con and Elber were involved in all aspects of its life, from GAA to local events, both were always together, attending, supporting their friends, neighbours and relatives.
“Their faith too always evident with a proactive involvement in church.
“At this time we, their family and friends, pray that this faith is rewarded with a real recovery.
“We pray too for Oisin and baby Elber Marie, born an angel. We ask too for the privacy of the families at this time to be respected so we can focus on helping them in the long recovery ahead.”
Twenty-five emergency service vehicles attended the incident, along with three air ambulances, including one from Dorset, which helped to take all four occupants of the cars to hospital.
A Polish man in his 20s, who was driving the second car, was arrested at the scene but later died.
The road was closed for more than 10 hours while the vehicles were recovered and forensic examinations took place.
Police chiefs said it appeared a black Vauxhall Vectra driven by the Polish man went down a hill and swerved into the path of the family’s oncoming car.
A major crime investigation team and serious collision investigation unit are looking into the circumstances of the crash.
The crash was witnessed by a police officer who was immediately on the scene.
Because the driver of a police car witnessed the crash, the force has referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission as a matter of course.
However the officer’s police car had not been pursuing the vehicles.