Father of Lauren Danks, who was killed by drink driver on A11, illustrates the suffering after daughter’s death in victim impact statement
- Credit: Archant
This has been written to give you a tiny glimpse of our pain and suffering, but hopefully you will not, and should not, ever fully understand.
On the evening of November 10, 2016, my life dramatically changed forever.
I was at home with my wife Claire wondering when Lauren would be home, Lauren was on her first evening shift as senior beauty therapist at Center Parcs, Elveden.
We were expecting Lauren between 10.30pm-11pm, As the time drew past this we were concerned she may have run out of petrol, so after a few phone calls and text messages to Lauren to which she did not respond, I decided to go and look for her.
I entered the A11 at Red lodge heading towards Five Ways roundabout. I noticed an accident recovery truck with its amber lights flashing so I assumed it might be Lauren with a puncture being picked up! From out of nowhere I saw the blue lights of an ambulance and fire engine heading towards Lauren, as I drove further a police car overtook me.
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I was starting to worry.
I arrived at the scene, I could see Lauren's car upside down.
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A fireman approached me and I asked if Lauren was in there and if she was ok, I was told to wait there, a policeman then approached me and asked who I was, I explained, and was asked to step back to my car.
Within another minute the police officer approached me and as I looked at his face I could sense that he was about to tell me something devastating,
I was told that Lauren had not survived. The feeling inside is one that you cannot explain, you cannot imagine the despair, the pain, the hurt. It is unbearable.
A police officer started to take me home as I was unable to drive. During the drive home Claire had called so I told her to wait at home,
Claire was distraught on the phone, but I could not comfort her or tell her anything, just to wait for me.
I stepped out of the car and went over to Claire, I held her hands and looked into her eyes and said Lauren has died, I knew whatever I was feeling inside would be intensified ten times within Claire.
Our main concern was being able to see our daughter.
As we were still in disbelief, it was arranged for us to visit Lauren who was at the West Suffolk Hospital.
No words really can exaggerate how you feel when we saw our beautiful Lauren lying there, battered, bruised, cold, still and lifeless.
Holding Lauren's hand and then kissing her as we left, I could not believe she had died, I still feel the pain now.
Nights and days rolled in to one, there was very little sleep in our home. The sadness and emptiness was surreal, our daily routine was planned around visiting Lauren at the mortuary and nothing else mattered.
I could only blame myself for Lauren's death, I could not protect her. If only I had done this, if only I had done that, why had we encouraged Lauren to work hard and to try her best at everything.
I helped Lauren to prepare for her interview, I remember the day Lauren came home and tried to pretend that she had not got the position of senior beauty therapist, but the sparkle in her eyes and beaming from ear to ear was a slight giveaway,
Lauren was absolutely chuffed. If only I had not helped her she might not have been promoted, she might not have been on that road at that specific time. It's my fault.
Lauren was brought home on the eve of her burial. My daughter was home for one last night.
Lauren's coffin was laid out in the room. We explained to the children this was nothing to be afraid of. It was our Lolly spending one last night and it was time to talk to her and say goodbye until we see her in heaven again.
Our friends and family have rallied around.
They took the boys to school for the first six weeks, they made us meals and generally helped us out with day-to-day tasks and being there for emotional support. After Christmas I started taking the boys to school and all their different clubs that they belong to.
I have not only had to cope with this, but to also witness the destruction this has had on my family as individuals and as a family as a whole.
My wife is in despair, struggling to live a normal life.
You can only imagine what Lauren would say. Of the life she has lost, the time that no longer exists, no more experiences, no more special moments with her mother, no more being with her family, no more holding hands with her brothers or her own children, no moment of walking down the aisle with her father to be wed to a man of her dreams, no more dreams at all, no life, just gone out of existence. It's so cruel.'