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Old 04-09-2018, 11:00 AM
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Default Canarian Weekly:

A LATVIAN driver, charged with the hit-and-run death of a nine-year-old Northern Ireland boy in Adeje last week, will spend under six years in prison if convicted.

And that will surely infuriate the distraught parents of Carter, especially after the behaviour of the driver, who scarpered with his passenger, a fellow-Latvian aged 34, without even finding out whether the youngster was still alive.

In fact, poor Carter, who had been shopping with his father, Stuart, and his partner, Clair, was in cardiac arrest when the ambulance reached the scene, outside Gran Sur Shopping centre. And, after restarting his heart, paramedics took him straight to Candelaria Hospital.

Tragically, his injuries were so severe that he died the next day, on Good Friday. But CCTV footage of the car, posted on social media, led to the driver being identified within two days.

The two men, held on remand, were in court on Tuesday, when witnesses detailed the hit-and-run, and Judge Daniel Alamo ordered a full reconstruction of events, at the scene of the incident.

Judge Alamo has now ruled that there is sufficient, preliminary evidence to charge the 39-year-old with causing death by negligence, and failing to stop to assist Carter at the scene.

The driver’s passenger, a 34-year-old man, also from Latvia, has been released on bail. But he will also stand trial for failing to assist the victim of a road accident.

Police investigators had quizzed several people, after seizing a red Alfa Romeo, believed to be the vehicle involved, which had a damaged front headlamp.

It was spotted last Friday afternoon by an off-duty police officer, near the scene of the crime and led to the Latvians’ arrest.

The youngster’s heartbroken father, Stuart, said: “Carter was our world, with a smile that touched so many hearts. He was a football-crazy kid, whose loss we can’t describe.

“We would like to thank everyone, from the bottom of our hearts, for their support, kind words and generosity. Rest easy, Daddy’s wee superstar.”

Earlier this week, Carter’s mum, 31-year-old Carlene O’Connor, paid tribute to her “smart, fun-loving” little boy.

She said: “On Thursday, I got the unthinkable phone call that every parent dreads, telling me that my beautiful son had been involved in a tragic accident, while on holiday with his dad and family.

“My heart sank. I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing… my world instantly fell apart. To think that my baby boy had gained his angel wings, just as his wee life was really beginning.”

Carlene said Carter was a “football-mad” Liverpool fan, who played for his local 18th Newtownabbey youth team in Monkstown, and attended all the Northern Ireland international matches with his dad.

“He was just the funniest, most wonderful boy; smart, fun-loving and caring. He had the biggest heart and the most gorgeous smile.”

A book of condolence has been opened at Carter’s Abbots Cross Primary, while family friend and funding organiser Charlene Dinnen has now raised around £11,500 towards funeral costs, after launching an appeal on crowdfunding site Just Giving.

She said: “Carter was a happy-go-lucky, wee boy who just loved his footy, taking after his daddy and grandad. I can’t even put into words how heartbreaking this is. Sleep tight, wee man.”

Meanwhile, the local Newtownabbey community is said to be “reeling”, and a flood of condolences and tributes to the popular schoolboy have been posted on social media.

Carter’s local school wrote on Facebook that staff, children and parents were “deeply saddened” by the “sudden loss” of their P5 pupil Carter Carson.

The names of the hit-and-run pair, said to be in the construction industry, have not yet been revealed. But Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido highlighted the importance of networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in helping to solve crimes.

“Public co-operation has, again, been fundamental. Thank you all for your help,” Zoido tweeted on Easter Sunday.
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