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Friday, December 19, 2008

Parents to speak at Rome hit and run trial

The parents of a Limerick woman and a Kildare woman who were knocked down and killed in Rome last March, will tell an Italian court of how the deaths of their daughters has devastated their lives.

The trial will commence proper today of 32 year old Friedrich Vernarelli who is charged with knocking down two women, 29-year-old Mary Clare Collins from Athy Kildare and 27-year-old Elizabeth Gubbins from Lisnagroy, Limerick, at a pedestrian crossing near the Vatican on St Patrick’s night of this year.

Mr Vernarelli has been charged with culpable homicide, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, breach of Italian road traffic regulations and driving while drunk.

At his arraignment following the incident the defendant said he had gained some of his memory of that night and insisted he was not behind the wheel when the accident happened however investigating judges rejected his version of events.

The two friends were out celebrating St Patrick’s night when they were struck and killed by a Mercedes car as they crossed a road in downtown Rome

The defendants father Roberto Vernarelli, an Italian politician and former Police Chief said at the time his son was a "good boy" who didn’t take a drink. He did say later however that “In a world where everyone tried to run away, he (Friedrich) will pay for what he has done and serve his sentence".

Reports say if Vernarelli is convicted he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in jail.

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