Dublin woman killed by driver who fled Ireland after fatal crash

St. James's Hospital
St. James's Hospital

A 23 year old girl-guide captain died after she was struck by a car driven by a Chinese national who bought a fake insurance disc for his BMW, an inquest heard.

Blathnaid Cadwell of Beech Lawn, Dundrum, Dublin 14 suffered fatal head injuries in the incident on February 23, 2002. She was rushed to St James's Hospital where she later died.

Miss Cadwell, a communications graduate who followed her father, former RTE cameraman Bill Cadwell into television media, was described as a successful, outgoing woman 'with so much to give.'

"In her 23 years she had a wonderful life, she had achieved so much; a good degree, the job she wanted. It is only when she is gone that you realise what an impact she had," her mother Margaret Cadwell said.

Driver Liu Yang was 24 at the time and was working and studying in Ireland. He was driving a 5 series, 2-litre BMW he bought two weeks previously. Arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing death, Mr Yang fled the country on a fake passport the day before he was due to appear in court.

Miss Cadwell had attended a girl-guide event at her local parish hall the night before she died. She stayed there overnight with a friend and was on her way home when the incident happened.

Witness Michael Mooney said he saw the BMW travelling between 50-60mph in a 30 mph zone. "I saw the back of the car sliding out, I thought he is going to be in trouble and turned back," he said. When he saw the young woman lying on the footpath he called an ambulance.

In a statement taken by gardai, driver Liu Yang said he had a Chinese driving licence but had failed the driver theory test in Ireland.

"I was driving to a friend's house, I never got there. I saw a girl on the footpath. As I was driving up Beaumont Avenue I could not control the car, the road was wet," he said.

Due to appear in court on October 25 2002, Mr Yang left the country a day earlier.

A bench warrant was issued for his arrest but garda inquiries revealed he had returned to China on a fake passport.

There is no extradition treaty between Ireland and China but Garda Donal Ryan said the case remains open and if Mr Yang appears in any European country he can be sent back for trial.

First opened in 2002, the inquest concluded with a narrative verdict - due to the outstanding charge - from a jury at Dublin Coroner's Court. The case remains open.