By Patrick Markey
The Derry-born ambulance driver who pleaded guilty to her part in the deaths of three New York children last year was sentenced to five years’ probation in a Brooklyn court yesterday.
Anne Lamberson pleaded guilty to a charge of criminally negligent homicide in October under a plea bargain that allowed her to stay out of prison. Yesterday, Judge Michael Gary said Lamberson had expressed enough remorse for her part in the incident. "You have imposed a life sentence on you and I know that comes from the heart," he said.
In a tearful statement to the court, Lamberson said she was still devastated by the deaths of the children. "Not a day doesn’t go by that I don’t go down my knees and pray that she can find some peace," Lamberson said of the victims’ mother, Angela Igwe.
Lamberson was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter after the private ambulance she was driving crashed into Igwe’s car at an intersection in October 1998.
Three of Igwe’s children — Damilola Morak, 7, Olusegun Morak, 5 and 2-year-old Akintunde Morak — died in the collision. If she had been found guilty at a trial, Lamberson would have almost certainly faced a jail sentence.
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Prosecutors and Lamberson’s attorney have said they will apply after a year to have her probation dismissed if she has no violations.
But Lamberson still faces a civil lawsuit. The Igwe family have hired former O.J. Simpson lawyer Peter Neufeld to deal with their legal matters.
Lamberson’s parents emigrated from the Bogside in the early 1960s to the United States. Her case had attracted attention and support in Northern Ireland after SDLP leader John Hume voiced concern over the serious charges.