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‘Dad’s death breaks our hearts every day’

May 13th, 2024 7:00 AM

‘Dad’s death breaks our hearts every day’ Image
He had the ability to turn a bad game into a good game, said Paudie’s brother John Palmer. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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THE daughter of broadcaster Paudie Palmer has said that since his ‘horrific departure’ a part of her ‘has been extinguished’.

Ukrainian Bohdan Bezverkhyi, 35, of Rigsdale House, Rigsdale, Ballinhassig was last week sentenced to six years in prison at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, after he was convicted of causing the death, by dangerous driving, of the popular GAA commentator and schoolteacher, at Dunkereen Cross, Innishannon on December 29th 2022.

A victim impact statement was presented to the court by Claire Palmer-Panagiodis, Paudie’s eldest daughter, on behalf of her mother Colette, sister Emily, Mr Palmer’s brothers Denis, Richie and John, and the entire Palmer family.

‘Our father was the cornerstone of our family, our mentor, supporter, and guiding star,’ she said.

‘His wisdom shaped who we are as adults. His death has left a void in our identities and lives, feeling as though a part of me has been extinguished. As a result of Dad’s sudden and horrific departure, our family dynamics have shifted significantly.’

Claire said that her dad was a pillar of strength and the effect of his loss on her mother was heart-wrenching.

The toll on her mother’s well-being had been palpable.

‘My sister Emily and I struggle without our father’s guidance daily, and it continues to break my heart every day. This sorrow and anxiety disrupt our daily life, making it difficult to focus and find joy,’ she said.

She said that the trauma of her father’s sudden death had caused her, her mother and sister, to struggle with insomnia which had contributed to a ‘catastrophic decline in our general health’.

She added that the loss of Mr Palmer had left an irreplaceable void at family occasions, including her own wedding where her father was not there to walk her down the aisle.

‘Having to place my father’s buttonhole of flowers on his grave – instead of my mother pinning it to his suit – was utterly distressing, on a day that should have been the happiest day in our family’s lives, Additionally, my son Lucas, who was only three months old at the time of the accident, has been deprived of not just a grandfather, but one of the finest role models he could ever have had,’ she said.

An emotional John Palmer, Paudie’s brother, also read a victim impact statement to the court on behalf of himself and his brothers Denis and Richie.

Mr Palmer said that the phone call informing him of his brother’s accident was one that he would remember for the rest of his life.

‘When the summer season kicked in, Paudie was on the airways, where we would all tune in to listen to his magic commentary on the big games. He had the ability to turn a bad game into a good game. These games now have a different meaning for us as we will never hear that magic commentary again,’ he said.

Det Gda Manus O’Donnell said that Mr Bezverkhyi’s grey BMW 5-Series hit Mr Palmer’s red Peugeot 206 at approximately 9.45am.

Mr Bezverkhyi had passed a stop sign at the crossroads and collided with Mr Palmer’s Peugeot as he was driving through the junction, hitting the car on the rear right side.

The collision caused Mr Palmer’s car to spin into a ditch on the south side of the junction, ending up on its side.

Mr Bezverkhyi fled the scene and did not contact emergency services.

Mr Palmer was taken to Cork University Hospital following the collision where he died from his injuries on January 8th, 2023.

Seamus Roche, barrister for Mr Bezverkhyi, said he came from a war-torn area of Ukraine and had no family support in Ireland.

He was a working man who, other than this incident, lived a normal life.

Judge Dunphy sentenced Mr Bezverkhyi to seven-and-a-half years in prison, but suspended the final 18 months.

He was also disqualified from driving for 10 years.

The sentence was backdated to December 31st 2022, the day he was arrested.

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