'I've killed a child, I don't want to live anymore': Elderly woman who accidentally killed six-year-old schoolgirl dies from 'broken heart'
Six-year-old Indie Armstrong died after she was struck by Miriam Grace Patton's car at Nambour Mill Village Shopping Center on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on June 17
An elderly woman who had been charged in the death of a six-year-old schoolgirl "died from a broken heart" after she could no longer take the guilt and devastation she felt in the aftermath of the incident.
The 86-year-old, Miriam Grace Paton, had reversed her car into Indie Armstrong at Nambour Mill Village Shopping Center on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on June 17 when the six-year-old was crossing with her seven-year-old sister Lily and her 57-year-old grandmother Sandy Bampton. While all three sustained injuries in the accident, Indie would not survive.
Following her death, hundreds flocked to her funeral at the Sunshine Coast Chapel to pay their respects. During the service, her parents shared a letter remembering their daughter's life, describing her as a free spirit who lit up their life and was loved "to the moon and back".
Paton was subsequently charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and grievous bodily harm but was then unable to appear at the Maroochydore Magistrates Court after she became "very unwell". 9News reported at the time that Paton was due to spend at least two more weeks in the hospital.
According to the Daily Mail, Paton had previously been taken to the hospital after the crash after she sustained lower back pain and a "lumbar crush fracture". She then developed pneumonia and would go on to miss a number of court appearances before passing away this week.
Her last words were reportedly, "I've killed a child and I don't want to live anymore." Her husband, 90-year-old Stuart, said that Paton, who worked as a school teacher for 50 years, loved children and could no longer live with the guilt of having caused Indie's death. "She was heartbroken, she could not bear the thought of having caused the little girl's death. She wanted to die," he was quoted saying.
Paton's lawyer and friend, Peter Boyce, said she passed away in the hospital in the early hours of the morning of November 15 and paid tribute to her life. "She was a lovely lady, very kind and gentle, but strong-minded," he said.
He also backed Stuart's statements and said that the 86-year-old's just did not want to continue living. "She made a decision she didn't want further treatment," Boyce revealed. "Miriam, as small and frail as she was, she decided there is no point in going on. The pain and anguish seen on her face when we talked briefly about this matter is something I'll never forget."
Indie's father, Jason, said he had been informed about Paton's death but did not offer a comment. "We really have nothing more to say. No words are going to bring her back. This has been an incredibly rough time," he said, according to the Mail.