03 March 2006
NEW LODGE DAD SPEAKS OF LOSS OF ‘LITTLE ANGEL’
**Please also see Remembering Emma Lynch and Christopher Shaw
A NORTH Belfast father who has been in mourning for the last two years after the death of his only daughter has told of how he broke down and cried when he heard her killer had been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving this week.
11-year-old Christopher Shaw and eight-year-old Emma Lynch had been walking along the Springfield Road in West Belfast when a car driven by 44-year-old Wayne Johnston, formerly of the Highfield Estate, struck them. The children had been taking a pet puppy for a walk with Christopher’s father Michael Shaw when a Vauxhall Astra driven by Johnston mounted the pavement and ploughed into the pedestrians. Christopher died at the scene and Emma passed away in hospital after surviving for another three days on a life support machine.
Fighting back the tears, Emma’s father, Joe Caughey, said the last two years have been the worst of his life.
“I knew when the court case came round it would be hard but I didn’t think it would be this hard. I am in a daze – I feel numb, I just don’t know how to react.”
The New Lodge man still feels a lot of anger towards Wayne Johnston and says he could not attend court because he couldn’t face looking at the man who killed his daughter.
“The day we buried Emma was Christmas Eve, the same day that he [Wayne Johnston] got out on £500 bail, that just knocked the heart out of me,” said Joe.
“If I had done something like that I would have put my hands up right away, but he lied from the start. I just thank God that the jury were not taken in by his lies. My main worry now is that he will appeal and get off, that’s my real concern.”
Johnston claimed that he had lost control of his car after he took a coughing fit and blacked out. But the jury returned a unanimous verdict that he was guilty of causing death by dangerous driving and causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving to 13-year-old Darren Shaw who had also been out with the group.
Johnston was remanded in custody and is due for sentencing next month, when he could receive a maximum of ten years behind bars – a sentence Joe would welcome.
“Whatever he gets it can never be big enough because we have to live with this for the rest of our lives.
“Emma was a miracle child, I was told I couldn’t have children and then we had her when I was forty. I know I will never have any more children. It breaks my heart that I only had her for eight years, this man has robbed me of my wee angel.”
Journalist:: Evan Short