“Everyone is heartbroken without her”.
These were the words of the mother of the late Lisa Cullen during her victim impact statement at Longford Circuit Court last week.
Roseanne Cullen read her statement directly to the court during the hearing of Robert Waillant, Annaville, Dublin Road, Longford who appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson pleading guilty to careless driving causing the death of 29-year-old Lisa at Curry, Longford on February 5, 2014.
The court heard that Lisa was from a family of three siblings and was a popular and much-loved girl.
Her untimely death, the court was told, left a huge void in the lives of her mother and father, two brothers, extended family and her many friends.
“It is hard to put into words how profoundly this has affected my life; the pain and despair that we as parents feel over Lisa’s death,” Ms Cullen continued.
“Lisae had a heart of gold and would light up a room with her beautiful smile and laughter.
“She loved life, family, extended family and her close friends, and the pain in my heart will be with me forever.”
The court then heard about the physical and mental impact Lisa’s death had on her mother.
“I am exhausted since she died,” a clearly emotional Ms Cullen went on to say.
“Lisa was a loving, gentle and caring child; she went to college and graduated with an honours degree in Business and she was enjoying life, and delighted to have 9-5 job at the Credit Union in Ballymahon.”
Ms Cullen said that she and her daughter had remained close throughout Lisa’s life and had a lot in common.
This, she added, was no more evident than in their shared love for Irish dancing.
Lisa was a dancing teacher herself, having trained through the Stanley Carroll School of Dancing and was planning to take her adjudicator exams when she turned 30 years old.
This never happened because Lisa died within a few months of her milestone birthday.
“I was with her through the trials and tribulations and she was planning to do her adjudicator exams when she turned 30,” Lisa’s mother continued.
“She never got to celebrate her 30th birthday or do those exams - Robert Waillant extinguished Lisa’s life and all her hopes and dreams.”
The late Lisa Cullen was then described as a beautiful, energetic and bubbly girl.
“My heart was completely and utterly broken upon hearing of Lisa’s death,” said Ms Cullen, before pointing out that the anguish and pain she suffered having to stand behind her daughter’s coffin was “unbearable”.
“I was Lisa’s mother for 29 years and she was my only daughter.
“The thoughts of never seeing her married, holding her children or seeing that smile on her face causes me severe anguish and I go to bed at night thinking about her with a heavy heart.”
The mother-of-three went on to say that since her daughter’s death just over two years ago she has become emotional, tearful and unsociable.
“I have trouble finding joy in the simple pleasures of life,” she cried.
“Lisa was a good, caring, honest and respectful person in life and I hope her death will not be in vain.
“She did not deserve to have her life cut short and we as a family have to endure a life sentence since the day she died.”
Meanwhile, Lisa’s father, John also read his victim impact statement to the court.
What hurts Mr Cullen most is the fact that he will never get to walk his beautiful daughter down the aisle or see her smile again, the court heard.
“Lisa was our only daughter and she was special,” he said, before adding that at the age of four she won the Longford Leader Search for a Star competition for Irish dancing.
“She went on to become passionate about dancing, winning many accolades and then becoming a dancing teacher herself.”
The court then heard how caring and compassionate Lisa was.
“Even with her busy lifestyle, Lisa still made time for me and if I was looking scruffy or shabby, she would let me know,” smiled Mr Cullen.
“I still expect her to walk through the door at any time.
“I will never get the chance to walk her down the aisle and there will be no more Christmas or birthday presents,” he added.
“We miss her every day; her love and passion was infectious and her smile would light up the darkest room.
“All the family are devastated by Lisa’s death and I want to thank all the people who spent the time with Lisa in her final moments.
“To the man who held her hand and Colette the Garda Liaison Officer - thank you.
“For those that knew Lisa, please never forget her.”
Judge Johnson then offered the “profound and deepest sympathy” of the court to the Cullen family and indicated that he would give a verdict in the case on Wednesday, February 24, at Portlaoise Circuit Court.
Forty eight-year-old Robert Waillant was subsequently convicted of careless driving causing the death of Lisa Cullen and was handed down a one-year prison sentence, suspended for three years, and was banned from driving for 15 years.
Judge Johnson said he was satisfied Mr Waillant was not as culpable as other parties who had appeared before the court during the case, and he recommended a further review of the case to explore the possibility of further prosecutions.
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