real life

End of school joy turns to tragedy

Life for little Zoe Stephen will never be the same again.

Zoe’s six-year-old cousin Akshay, who was visiting her from Malaysia for Christmas, was killed before her eyes yesterday as they walked to her last day of kindergarten before the Christmas break.

Zoe (pictured above with her sister Ellie) was with Akshay, her aunty and her sister outside Carlingford Public School in Sydney yesterday morning when the tragedy occurred.

A 46-year-old mother reversing out of a driveway at the school – with two of her own children inside her car – ran over Akshay, pinning­ him against a fence and killing him.

Ellie was briefly trapped under the car with a broken pelvis. Zoe’s aunty and the driver were also taken to hospital to be treated for shock.

The Daily Telegraph reports that one school mother told of how “there were little children crying because they’d seen what happened.”

Akshay had only arrived in Sydney a week earlier.

Zoe Stephen (right) with her mother Fung Ong and father Andrew.

Zoe's dad, Andrew Stephen, told The Telegraph: "It was his first trip here … We took him last weekend to Taronga Zoo and Darling Harbour. He was very excited about being in Australia, and being with his cousins."

He added that Zoe and Ellie were "understandably distressed".

A mother at the school said the area was problematic for parents because there was very little parking and no speed bumps.

Superintendent John Duncan said an investigation was under way.

"This is a tragic incident, it's a week before Christmas, it's the last day of school so there would have been quite a few parents coming here to drop their kids off," he said.

"We understand they were walking along a footpath and the vehicle struck while they were crossing a driveway."

Our hearts go out to the family and to the mother who has lost her only child.

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