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‘Kyle, I forgive you,’ says mum to driver in Pulham Market crash which killed her son

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 10 January 2018

Dominic O'Neill, who died in a crash at Pulham Market. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Dominic O'Neill, who died in a crash at Pulham Market. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Archant

“I forgive you” - those are a devastated mother’s heartfelt words to the driver of a crash which killed three much-loved teenagers, including her son, after an inquest into their deaths.

Davina O'Neill. Picture: DAVINA O'NEILL Davina O'Neill. Picture: DAVINA O'NEILL

Kyle Warren, 17, from Harleston, had passed his driving test less than two weeks before he asked friends Dominic O’Neill and Billy Hines whether they wanted to come and see his new black Ford Ka.

As he left his house in Pulham Market at 9.30pm on April 5 last year, Dominic’s mother Davina O’Neill said to her son: “He will be careful, won’t he?”

After spending some time with friends in Dickleburgh, Billy’s brother Ryan Hines became concerned when he got a phonecall from friend Emily Thacker on the evening of the crash, saying she could not reach any of the teenagers.

It soon became clear the trio had died when the car they were travelling in came off the road and hit a tree in Tivetshall Road, Pulham Market at around 11.45pm, before catching fire.

Dominic O'Neill, left, pictured with his friend Mason Heasley. Picture: COURTESY OF DAVINA O'NEILL Dominic O'Neill, left, pictured with his friend Mason Heasley. Picture: COURTESY OF DAVINA O'NEILL

Although an inquest into the teenagers’ deaths on Tuesday, January 9 said there were no witnesses to the crash, officers said the most likely cause was that Kyle - who was driving the vehicle - lost control on a corner.

A toxicology report found that Kyle had traces of MDMA and cocaine in his system, although area coroner Yvonne Blake told the inquest: “There is no evidence to indicate the drugs he had taken contributed to the accident.”

Billy, 16, from Wortham, sitting in the front passenger seat, and Dominic, 18, sitting in the rear of the vehicle, had no traces of drugs or alcohol in their systems.

Christopher Reeve, the first on the scene, described seeing what appeared to be a bonfire as he approached the scene, as well as black tyre marks where the car had skidded off the road.

Dominic O'Neill pictured with two of his friends. Picture: COURTESY OF DAVINA O'NEILL Dominic O'Neill pictured with two of his friends. Picture: COURTESY OF DAVINA O'NEILL

As police sealed off the road for a collision scene investigation that would last more than 12hrs, having to wait for daylight before recovering the bodies, officers made the fateful knock on the door that no parent wants to hear.

Answering the door to two officers at 2.30am the following morning, Ms O’Neill said: “I thought he had forgotten his key. I didn’t think for one minute it was to tell me Dominic was dead.

“I got out of bed, went to shout out and there were two figures in the doorway. I opened the door, they showed their IDs and they came in. They asked if someone was living here by Dominic’s name. They sat me down and said there had been a road traffic accident and I answered back: ‘Why, what’s he done?’

“Nothing in this world prepares a mother to hear those words. It was like someone had got a big plank of wood and hit me in the chest. It was a horrendous shock.”

Dominic O'Neill's funeral procession leaves the church at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Dominic O'Neill's funeral procession leaves the church at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ms O’Neill, who lived alone with Dominic, said he was a “beautiful young man” who loved his cars, had countless friends and was popular in the community.

She said Dominic’s death had left her devastated, adding: “I’m going through hell. I don’t know how to have a life without Dominic. He was my life.

“I would give anything to hear him ripping down the road on his bike, tinkering with a car or revving away.”

Yet despite the pain she feels, she today said: “For Dominic, I want to say to Kyle’s family that Kyle, I forgive you. I forgive you for that night, for killing Dominic. It was an accident.”

Dominic O'Neill's funeral procession leaves the church at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Dominic O'Neill's funeral procession leaves the church at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said her words of forgiveness were difficult to say but were “what Dominic would want”, adding: “I hope that it will give his closest family some comfort and some peace in their grief. By forgiving him doesn’t mean it’s okay. It simply says I want him to rest in peace. Dominic would want that.”

At the inquest, Mrs Blake described the incident as “very tragic” and said she would “express my heartfelt condolences”. She added: “I have two daughters of my own and I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to them.” She recorded a conclusion that each died as a result of a road traffic collision. The medical cause was given as multiple injuries from a road traffic accident.

A statement from Billy’s family released after the inquest said: “This has been a very difficult time for our family but would like to take this opportunity to thank all our family and friends.

“We don’t know how we would have made it through the last few months without their support, especially Billy’s friends who have been a great comfort to us.

The site of the fatal accident of the three teenagers, Kyle Warren, Billy Hines and Dominic O'Neill at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The site of the fatal accident of the three teenagers, Kyle Warren, Billy Hines and Dominic O'Neill at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We would also like to thank all those that donated money to Billy’s fundraising, everybody has been very generous.

“Billy will be missed by many but never forgotten.”

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