Oldham hit-and-run: Man admits causing girls' deaths

Family handout showing victims Helina Kotlarova, 12, and Zaneta Krokova, 11 Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Helina Kotlarova, 12, (left) and her 11-year-old cousin Zaneta Krokova died in the crash

A man has admitted causing the deaths of two cousins by careless driving in a hit-and-run crash on New Year's Eve.

Zaneta Krokova, 11, and Helina Kotlarova, 12, were holding hands when they were struck crossing a road in Oldham.

Gabor Hegedus, 38, pleaded guilty at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.

The girls' families watched from the public gallery and have spoken of their relief and sadness.

'Full of life'

The pair had just come out of a shop near their homes on Ashton Road when the crash happened on 31 December.

Helina died at the scene and Zaneta died in hospital on 2 January.

Helina's father, Robert Kotlar, said: "While it is of course a relief that we will not have go through a trial as a result of the driver taking responsibility for his actions, we will still have to live every day without our beloved daughter because of what he did."

Her mother Sylva Kotlarova said she still hears her siblings crying upstairs. "They still don't want to believe that Helina is [dead] and still waiting for her to come back."

Milan Kroka's father said: "Those young girls have been so cruelly taken away from us. Zaneta was so young and full of life, it is still hard to believe at times she is no longer with us."

Image caption Floral tributes were left at the scene on Ashton Road

Her mother Zaneta Bakova said she was "a darling... with a big heart" who loved cuddles and the pain of her death "will never go away".

She said she had hoped her daughter would recover from her injuries "because she had a good heart" and when she did not it was like "we all all died with her".

Although she said there was some comfort in the cousins dying together she said it meant the family had "twice the pain in their hearts".

Hegedus, a Hungarian living in Oldham, admitted failing to stop, disposing of the vehicle, failing to report an accident and driving without a licence at an earlier hearing.

At the same hearing, David Orsos, 18, pleaded guilty to a single charge of perverting the course of justice.

Both men will be sentenced at the conclusion of the trial in June against Zoltan Peto, 49, who denies perverting the course of justice.

An application to dismiss the charge of perverting the course of justice against Janos Kalayanos, 50, was heard and will be ruled on by Judge John Potter on Tuesday.

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