Dec 20 2012 by Tom Duffy, Skelmersdale Advertiser
Tributes for Skelmersdale crash victim Adam McGunnigle
THE parents of a Skelmersdale teenager who was killed when the stolen car he was travelling in crashed have paid tribute to their son.
Adam McGunnigle, 16, was sitting in the front seat of a Renault Megane which smashed into a tree during the early hours of the morning of December 4, on a dimly lit road in Willaston near Neston.
Adam’s mum Tracy McGunnigle has told the Advertiser that her son was not wearing a seat belt and that he died from internal injuries.
Mrs McGunnigle said that she pleaded with her son not to get in to the car on the night of the fatal smash.
The Liverpool FC fan was returning to Merseyside on December 4 after a short holiday with his pals in Prestatyn. He spoke to his mum on the phone as he was about to set off.
Adam had been living in a Crosby care home, which was managed by Kirklees Council. The teenager moved to Huddersfield several yeas ago to live with a relative, and was later placed into the local care system. He was allowed to live in Merseyside for family reasons.
Adam had told his mum that he would be coming home to her in the new year.
On Monday hundreds of mourners attended Adam’s funeral at St Francis of Assisi in Skelmersdale, followed by a reception in Huyton. Teachers from Adam’s old school, St Luke’s primary, attended.
Speaking from her home in Digmoor, Mrs McGunnigle told the Advertiser that when Adam’s father told her their son had been killed, her clock stopped. The hands of the clock have remained at 11.30am since.
She said: “Adam’s dad Kevin was knocking on my front door at around 11.30am in the morning. I wondered what the commotion was, and he just said that Adam had been killed.
“I just remember screaming. And then I noticed the clock in the TV room had stopped at 11.30am.
“I spoke to Adam on the night of his death. I begged him not to get in the car because of the time of the night. Adam did not know that the car had been stolen. Neither did I.
“I kept phoning him during the early hours of the morning, but he did not answer his phone.”
Adam left behind his mum, dad, brother Luke, 22, and sisters Maria, 2,7 and Georgia, 9, who he loved to dote on.
His mum added: “Adam took great pride in his appearance. He loved all the latest fashion, and his dad was always buying him new trainers.
“He loved Liverpool FC. I remember him watching them on the telly as a little boy. He would say ‘close the door, I am watching footy. ’ Adam also loved to wear rosary beads. He said they would keep him safe.
“I just feel destroyed by what has happened to my son.
“I would hate another family to go through this. My message to young people is that getting into a stolen car can cost you your life.”
Adam’s dad Kevin, who is from Huyton, said: “I really can’t find the words to convey my heartbreak. I feel a void, and I feel pain. Adam loved Liverpool FC, and had some potential as a player. I was hoping to get him a trial at Bolton Wanderers in the new year. My friend Tony Kelly, who is at Bolton, said that Adam could go up in the new year and play with some of the lads. Sadly that will not happen now. Adam was a really good kid.”
Adam’s mentor Gaynor Bell said: “He had a lot of potential. I was heartbroken when I was told of Adam’s death. I had known him since his schooldays, and was always impressed by his manners and attitude. He lived life to the full.”
On Tuesday a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) found that thousands of young people in care were being let down by the system set up to help them.
The report found that children in care who are placed outside their home area and supervised by youth offending teams (YOTs) face “extremely poor” futures.
It said a fifth of the children had themselves been a victim of crime while under supervision of the YOT and thatchecks were not made.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “Adam was a Looked After Child who was placed in the Sefton area for family reasons.
"The relevant authorities, including Ofsted and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, have been informed of Adam’s tragic death.
“The Youth Justice Board will receive an initial report from the council’s Youth Offending Team.
"This is in line with requirements and the report will include information regarding Adam's whereabouts prior to the accident.”
Adam Gouthwaite, 26, from Dacy Road, Anfield, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, driving while uninsured and aggravated vehicle taking.
He has appeared before Chester magistrates and was remanded in custody to appear at Chester crown court.
Anyone with any information can contact Cheshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.