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Faith Varden-Carberry Photo by: Irish Independent

12-year-old wins $256,000 after suing mother over fatal family car crash

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Faith Varden-Carberry Photo by: Irish Independent

Faith Varden-Carberry, the 12-year-old girl who sued both her parents and the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland, has been awarded $256,000 following the 2007 car crash that killed both her younger sister Ava and friend Michaela Logan.

The Irish Independent reports on the settlement reached in High Court on Wednesday. Varden-Carberry, originally of Longford, sued her parents and the MIBI through her grandfather Anthony Carberry, of St Mels Road, Longford.

In 2007, Mary Carberry, an alcoholic, was ‘blackout’ drunk while driving with the three children in the car. Faith’s younger sister Ava, who was 6-years-old at the time, and their friend Michaela Logan died after the car went off the road and crashed into a muddy embankment outside Edgeworthstown, Co Longford.

Faith, who was wearing her seatbelt in the backseat, endured serious physical and emotional trauma. She was confined to a spinal cast for two months, and went through months of therapy to help her cope with the tragedy.

Mary Carberry had been barred from driving at the time of the accident, stemming from an earlier conviction. However, with two young daughters, she needed a way to get them back and forth to school. Carberry had her daughters ask their father Thomas Varden, whom Mary had little to no relationship with, for help. Varden agreed to purchase a car for the family on the condition that Mary would not drive it.

However, Mary Carberry didn’t adhere to the condition, and ultimately caused the deaths of two young children.

While young Faith had brought charges up against her father, they were later dropped, leaving only her mother and the MIBI liable. Mary Carberry was sentenced to six years in prison with two years suspended, and the court found on Wednesday that the MIBI was responsible for a $256,000 payout to Faith.

The High Court presiding Justice Peter Charleton spoke directly to Faith saying he was sorry for everything she had been through, but he was sure she would have a great future. Justice Charleton also allowed $2,600 of the settlement to be paid out now to purchase a computer and printer for Faith.

Faith now lives with her step sister Marguerite Varden in Tuam, Co Galway, where she is in sixth class at school.

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