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Family's agony Tragic bride-to-be Laura Connolly was planning to try for baby after wedding

Laura's heartbroken uncle Andy Connolly revealed how his family are united in pain and grief he fears they will never overcome.

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Laura Connolly’s uncle Andy at the graveside of his tragic niece.

Laura Connolly’s uncle Andy at the graveside of his tragic niece.

Laura Connolly’s uncle Andy at the graveside of his tragic niece.

Tragic bride-to-be Laura Connolly was planning to try for a baby as soon as she got married.

Young mum Laura, who was knocked down and killed last week, now lies in an early grave as her devastated family try to understand what has happened, unable to accept a future without her smiling face.

In an exclusive interview with Sunday World, a day after she was buried in Lifford. Co Donegal, heartbroken uncle Andy Connolly revealed how his family are united in pain and grief he fears they will never overcome.

"I don't know how to describe how painful it is for everyone, especially her parents, partner and son," he said.

"They are in shock, they still can't believe what has happened. I think it would have been easier to accept if she died in a car crash or a long illness. The circumstances of her death are unbearable."

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Tragic Laura Connolly.

Tragic Laura Connolly.

Tragic Laura Connolly.

Laura had been out shopping for her wedding dress with mum Rosemary in their native town of Strabane, Co Tyrone on the day she died.

She found her dream dress and went out to celebrate with her best friends and bridesmaids before the tragedy struck last Sunday morning in Lifford, Co Donegal.

"She had been out celebrating finding her wedding dress, having a few drinks and they were going back to one of her friends' house when she stumbled and fell onto the road. The girls she was with tried to help her.

He added: "Her brother James got to the scene and saw her, the state she was in on the road, he is distraught.

"They were like twins, he never left her coffin, he lay over it most of the time. This whole family is broken."

He recounted how a neighbour heard the fatal 'thump' and rushed to her aid.

"He said there was nothing he could do but pray, he told me it was absolutely brutal."

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Flowers at grave of hit-and-run victim Laura Connolly.

Flowers at grave of hit-and-run victim Laura Connolly.

Flowers at grave of hit-and-run victim Laura Connolly.

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The Strabane man is the only member of the family strong enough at this stage to speak about the fun-loving girl, whose bright and happy future was senselessly snatched away.

"Laura was my brother Jimmy's daughter, I knew her all her life and she was just a lovely person. She was full of craic, she was the girl of the party, she was crafty too! She could have sold snow to the Eskimos, but she really was a girl who would have done anything for anyone.

"She was his only daughter and they were very close but she was close to all of us. Jimmy lived with her for a while and he was looking forward to her wedding as much as she was. Her mum and dad split up about four years ago and Laura did all the running about for him.

"They were very close, big time.

"They were best friends and he is devastated, they saw each other every day. I have never seen him cry like the way he has, it's not like him because he normally keeps it in. When I first saw him he couldn't even speak he was that badly shook. He is distraught, it is just horrific,".

Laura (35) is mum to 16-year-old Jamie and was to marry her life-long partner Joe McCullough next year in the same church her funeral was held this week.

Both her son and her husband-to-be are struggling to comprehend what has happened to their close and loving family.

"The shock is wild to comprehend, she was not my daughter but I can feel and I see their pain.

"It's hard to put into words. Joe is taking it really hard, he doesn't talk, he keeps having breakdowns, he is in deep mourning.

"He said to me there will be no wedding next year, Jamie [is left] without a mum. He is in deep shock too, I try and take him out for a run or take him to McDonald's to occupy him but he has lost his mother in such a brutal and sickening way I don't think he will ever come to terms with.

"Joe and Laura were planning to have another child after they got married, that has been taken from them too. It is just so sad. We will mourn, stay close to each other through this dark time that is never going to ease."

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Laura Connolly with her proud father Jimmy.

Laura Connolly with her proud father Jimmy.

Laura Connolly with her proud father Jimmy.

Laura's last words to her devastated mother that fateful day was that she loved her.

"Her mum Rosemary told me that before she died she was joking with her that she was going to clean her out, she was robbing her with the expense of the wedding dress and that. She told me that one of the last things Laura said to her was that she loved her.

"She too will never come to terms with the way her daughter died," Andy revealed.

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects to the lovely young woman who was buried on Thursday. At her funeral her favourite song, Butterfly Kisses, was sung.

The lyrics were deeply poignant, offering a painful reminder of a life cut short.

"Walk me down the aisle, Daddy - it's about time. Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry."

Sean Connaughton (50) with an address in Dundalk has been charged with road traffic offences relating to the hit and run. He was released on bail and will appear at Letterkenny court in October.

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