Hundreds pay tribute to Watton crash victim, 17

Hundreds of heartfelt tributes have been paid to a Norfolk teenager who was killed after the car in which she was travelling hit a tree, apparently after skidding on ice.

Annabel Laws, 17, had been to the McDonald's restaurant on the outskirts of Swaffham with friends before the tragedy struck at Sporle as they were returning to Watton late at night.

The crash happened at about 12.30am on Saturday.

Annabel, who is thought to have been a student, was a back-seat passenger in a black Seat Arosa car that clipped a verge, seemingly after skidding; it then hit a tree and ended up in a field on the North Pickenham road. She suffered fatal injuries.

The driver and two other passengers were not seriously hurt and were allowed home after checks in hospital.

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Another car containing three more of their friends – who had also been to McDonald's – was behind them when the crash happened.

All the young people, thought to be aged 17 and 18, had been former pupils at Wayland High School, Watton, who had stayed friends and met up together often.

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Annabel leaves her mother, Angela Calton, father, Stephen Laws, and brother Jonathan, 20.

Within hours of the tragedy, family and friends were joining a tribute page to Annabel on the Facebook networking website. By today, the number has passed 900.

Jonathan wrote in his Facebook tribute: 'Thank you for all your love and support; hard to believe such a wonderful person has been taken yet again. Your laugh will be greatly missed. Love you Annie x.'

Flowers and fond messages have been placed at the scene of the crash.

The Sporle crash happened only days after the inquest had been held into the death of another young Watton resident, Tom Forman. The 18-year-old motorcyclist died after his machine was involved in an accident involving a deer and a car on the A1075 Dereham to Watton road at Ovington last July.

That tragedy too caused an outpouring of grief among the youth of his home town, including the release of lanterns at the site of the crash.

Mike Rose, head of Wayland High School, said of Annabel's death: 'I'm absolutely numb. Obviously our thoughts are with her family at this time.'

Motorists across central Norfolk were confronted with treacherous conditions early on Saturday after ice formed on wet roads as the overnight temperature plummeted below zero.

A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed that ice was thought to have been a factor in the tragedy, although the exact cause was yet to be established.

Police are still appealing for information from anyone with information about the collision. Ring Norfolk Constabulary on the non-emergency number 101 and ask for the serious collision investigation team based at Wymondham.

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