'All I have left of my husband is his wedding ring': Woman describes horror of scrambler tragedy

By Laura Lynott

A woman who moved to Ireland to start a new life said her “dreams are shattered” after a scrambler motorbike caused devastating injuries to her husband, as the couple sunbathed in a park.

Anzhela Kotsinian, 43, had only moved to Dublin a little over a month before the tragic incident in Darndale Park, north Dublin, on Saturday, June 9.

The former teacher had been enjoying the warm weather, sunbathing with her roofer husband, Ilabek Avetian, 39, when a scrambler motorbike was driven over the brow of a hill landing on the couple.

Ilabek Avetian in Beaumont Hospital. Photo: Olivia Lynott

Tragically, Ilabek, lost his left eye and has been in a vegetative state in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, ever since while Anzhela’s “world has fallen apart.”

“No one is answering for this, how can this happen?” Anzhela said, laying bare the fact no criminal legislation prevents scrambler bikes being driven through public parks.

Only local authority bye-laws cover these incidents and Anzhela feels more has to be done by the State to stop this activity.

“We came to Ireland, from Lithuania, to begin a new life,” Anzhela said. “We wanted to have a child, to buy a home in Ireland, we were discussing our plans that day.

“We decided to lie down in the park, as it was a warm, sunny day but after lying down for 10 minutes, the motorbike ran over us.

“I didn’t understand what had happened. I suddenly heard a motorbike and then it ran over us and over my pelvis.

“I immediately thought of my husband. He had his head on my legs and I couldn’t hear a sound from him.

“I was in so much shock, I can't’ describe it in words, I just cried and shouted ‘help help help’.

“The motorbike had ran over my husband and crushed his face. Some workers nearby came to help us and we were taken to hospital.”

In June, gardai said a 16-year-old boy was helping them with their enquiries but officers have confirmed almost three months later and as Ilabek clings to life that no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile Anzhela, whose pelvis was fractured during the incident, is holding a daily vigil by her husband’s bedside without any State financial assistance to help her pay rent and live in Ireland.

The rent for the room the couple had both stayed in until the incident, costs €750-a-month and she pays an extra €125 in bills.

Anzhela and Ilabek’s families are sending money to help keep her afloat while he is cared for in hospital.

But as well as his life-changing injuries being her primary concern, Anzhela is anxious how long she can afford to live in Dublin.

Ilabek Avetian and Anzhela Kotsinian. Photo supplied by Olivia Lynott.

“We were talking about shopping that day, about what we would eat, it was an ordinary day, but we also talked about our future,” Anzhela said.

“I said I liked Ireland and we decided we wanted to stay. My husband had lived here before and he liked Ireland.

“We decided this country loves us, we love this country and we’ll stay here, buy a home, make a life, have children. We had a lot of plans."

“But now I’ve lost my husband and I’m losing more and more of him with each day.”

Anzhela and Ilabek had been undergoing IVF in Armenia in a bid to have a child and they’d hoped to try again in Ireland but “We ran out of time,” she said, weeping, accepting the inevitability that becoming a mother is increasingly unlikely now.

“I have two visiting times a day and before I arrive at the hospital, my heart is beating quickly,” she said.

“When I came to see him one day his door was closed and I was so worried. I try to help the doctors and nurses, to clean him.

“I can’t sleep, eat, or live, I’m like a zombie - I can’t do my makeup, wear a dress because it isn’t important anymore and no one is answering for this.

“I feel very, very alone. I think of the hurt that has happened to us in Ireland. I feel no one has helped me since my husband was hurt.

“I can’t work here to support myself. I don’t have papers to work, I was also injured and I have to come to see my husband in hospital everyday.

“I need financial support while I’m here but I’ve had none and my family back home and my husband’s are having to send money over, so I can stay here to be near him.

“My husband’s life is very important but I don’t know anyone here, how the Irish system works, how to find help.

“If this happened in my own country, I know how the police operate, how the Government works.

“My husband had so much energy. He loved to dance. We love socialising, music. We were so happy."

“But now every time I see him, he gets worse and worse. I can’t see how this story will have a good end. The doctors can’t help him improve.”

Anzhela said Beamont Hospital doctors are considering transferring her husband to Lithuania where only his father lives and she added “I have no home there.”

“We haven’t a home in Lithuania or Russia either, where I have citizenship. We have no home in Ireland,” she said.

“We were trying to start our lives here in Ireland before this happened. Our plans were to build a life, have children, to work hard, to start a business and everything we planned was connected with Ireland.

“In Lithuania there is nothing for us. I want to stay in Ireland, I want my husband to stay in Ireland but it’s hard for me to stay here on my own without any support.

“And in October, I’ll be 44. I’m not so young to find a new job after all this, to restart my life.”

Anzhela’s mother, Hasmik Kotsinian, 64, is currently visiting Dublin, to support her daughter through the trauma she is living but unfortunately she will have to leave by September 20.

“She doesn’t have a visa to stay and I just don’t know how I can be on my own, without my mother, or anyone - I don’t know anyone. I need help,” Anzhela said.

Ilabek Avetian and Anzhela Kotsinian. Photo supplied by Olivia Lynott.

After Anzhela was injured in the collision, she was wheeled into Ilabek’s ward to see him. She broke down, screaming when she saw how catastrophic his injuries were.

He had lost his left eye, suffered multiple facial fractures, including a fracture of the forehead bones. His nasal bones were fractured and his jaw bone and he had suffered a severe brain injury and haemorrhage.

Ilabek was placed on a ventilator and a cranial pressure monitor was inserted. Doctors found he had suffered “severe traumatic brain injury” causing “severe neurological deficit.”

“All I have left of my husband is his wedding ring,” Anzhela said, breaking down.

A nurse handed the ring to her, Anzhela said, showing how a single diamond had been lost and the ring had been squashed and misshapen in the collision.

“Who will return my husband, my family, my psychological peace?” she said. “When I was given his wedding ring, my whole world was turned inside out.”

A garda spokeswoman said no arrests had been made in connection with the scrambler collision and confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

When the Department of Justice were told that Anzhela wants to see the driving of scramblers made illegal in Irish parks, a spokesman responded stating: “The Department is currently reviewing appropriate criminal justice legislation to ensure that Gardaí have the necessary powers at their disposal to deal with the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes.

“In this regard, the Department continues to engage with An Garda Síochána in order to fully understand the difficulties encountered in dealing with this type of anti-social behaviour, and to learn from successes in this area.

“With regard to the misuse of scramblers and quad bikes in public parks, it should be noted that many local authorities, including Dublin City Council, have made bye-laws which prohibit the use of these vehicles in public parks under their jurisdiction.

“In consultation with relevant stakeholders, the Department is currently reviewing the effectiveness of such bye-laws and the use of general legislation in relation to this issue is one of the options being considered.”

Beaumont Hospital said it would not comment on individual patient cases due to patient confidentiality.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help Anzhela stay in Ireland to be by her husband’s side. If you would like to donate, log on to https://www.gofundme.com/avetian-ilabek

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