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Broderick car crash killed my mum and my sister, but now I can finally forgive him; GRIEVING MARTIN SAYS HE'S READY TO MEET ACTOR.

Byline: EMMA PRYER

THEY are one of Hollywood's golden couples and seem to have it all.

Sex And The City's Sarah Jessica Parker and the Inspector Gadget star Matthew Broderick are not only happily married, a rarity in Tinseltown, they could also pack a trophy cupboard with prestigious awards.

But in truth Broderick is still haunted by an incident that took place on a road in Co Fermanagh more than 15 years ago.

In Enniskillen, on August 5, 1987, Broderick was holidaying with then fiancee Jennifer Grey, of Dirty Dancing, when his BMW crashed head-on with a car carrying Anna Gallagher, 30, and her wheelchair-bound mother Margaret, 63.

He was driving on the wrong side of the road and both Anna and her mother died.

Martin Doherty, who lost his mum and sister on that day, has had to live with the consequences of the crash for 16 years.

Now with news Broderick may be returning to Ireland, the bereaved brother hopes they will finally meet.

Martin, who has been confined to a wheelchair since contracting an undiagnosed illness, said: "Of course you wonder if he got off lightly because of who he was. He got the same punishment he would have got if he'd run over cattle.

"Time heals a lot and I really do think it would help both Matthew and me to sit down together and have a long chat about what happened."

"Doing that wouldn't bring it all to a close in my mind - it's still with me all day, every day. But I would have the satisfaction of finally talking to the man that caused the accident."

Broderick, who broke a leg, ribs, and punctured his lungs, admitted to being in the wrong lane during the fatal accident.

And the star of Ferris Bueller's Day Off knows all too well he could have faced up to five years in jail for causing death by reckless driving.

But he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of careless driving and was fined just pounds 100.

Martin, 38, lives in a bungalow at Lissan, near Enniskillen, and could not lead a more different life from that of Broderick.

He was a mechanic in 1987 while Broderick was a rising film star.

His father had died two years before the accident and he'd grown very close to his only sister Anna as they cared for their mother, who had multiple sclerosis.

MARTIN was 22 when he lost them both. Anna had managed to get their mum to go for a drive in the country for the first time in six months. Martin stayed behind.

He recalled: "I was working at a wee van when the local butcher, who's a family friend, popped round to say he thought Anna was in a bit of difficulty about three miles down the road.

"The first thing that came into my head was she had a flat tyre and couldn't get it changed.

"It never crossed my mind it would turn out to be what it was.

"When my friend and I got there we met two ambulances pulling out. My mum was in one of them and Anna was in the other."

Martin remembers being given a lift by a local priest to nearby Erne Hospital but other memories from that day elude him.

He confided: "What will always haunt me though is the cries of pain I could hear.

"I never knew whether it was my mum or Anna but I just wanted to be with them and, of course, I wasn't allowed to be. It's human instinct to want to be with a loved one during those last few seconds.

"Mum died soon after I got to the hospital and Anna died in the operating theatre." It was only after reading news headlines he discovered the driver was Broderick.

Martin said: "Broderick was still trapped in his car when I got to the scene. I saw him talking to a firemen but I hadn't a clue who he was."

HE also remembers an encounter with 1980s star Jennifer Grey.

Martin added: "I was standing in casualty but we didn't speak. Everyone was too distressed."

Since the accident Broderick, now 41, has starred in high-profile films and has built a reputation as one of the finest actors on Broadway.

Now to complete the perfect package he and wife Parker, 38, celebrated the birth of their son James last February.

Martin said: "I'm certainly not begging him to come to Ireland but I have recently been told he would like to come to meet me.

"It wouldn't be that hard for him to get my telephone number, reporters have always been able to get in touch with me very easily.

"I've read bits and pieces in the past about how Broderick feels about what happened but there has been no direct contact.

"The only word I ever got from him was a hand-written message expressing condolences just after the accident, though I don't know whether it was from him or his agent.

"More recently there was a magazine article where he admitted that he is bothered by the accident.

"I appreciated that because because I suppose he could just have said 'no comment'. I've no idea what I will say to him but I expect the words will come to me when I met him."

It has taken a long time but finally Martin has come to forgive Broderick.

He's even watched the star's box office hit "Godzilla" alongside his eight-year-old son Thomas.

Martin said: "In the middle of it Thomas asked me: 'Is that the man, daddy?'

"I held what happened against Broderick for a long time.

"It was only about seven years ago that I finally genuinely forgave him.

"Until then it had been a wound festering inside me, deeper and deeper.

"I had the dearest people in the world taken away from me but it was still an accident.

"I honestly think it would help both Broderick and myself to talk about what happened more than 15 years ago."

CAPTION(S):

WRECKAGE: Broderick's car; DAILY MIRROR, Wednesday, June 18, 2003 PAGE 33; BABY JOY: Matthew Broderick and wife Sarah Jessica Parker show off newborn son James Wilke Broderick; VICTIM: Sister Anna Gallagher; HAUNTED: Brother Martin Doherty; VICTIM: Mum Margaret Doherty
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2003
Words:1051
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