Nurse's kindness commended by judge

She enjoyed a night out watching one of her favourite bands, but what confronted her on the journey home will live in her memory forever.

She enjoyed a night out watching one of her favourite bands, but what confronted her on the journey home will live in her memory forever.

Former care nurse Leandre Thompson was returning from a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert in Ipswich when she saw the aftermath of a head-on crash between two cars, which claimed the lives of five people including three teenagers from Lowestoft.

Now, a year after the tragedy on the A12 near Blythburgh, in Suffolk, the 33-year-old mother-of-three has been awarded £500 from the public purse by the courts for her caring efforts in comforting the casualties, despite the chaos that surrounded her.

She received a letter from Ipswich Crown Court last week telling her that a reward order was being made for her part in the rescue effort, and that a certificate was being prepared by the High Sheriff of Suffolk.

Ms Thompson, of Girton Road, Gorleston, said: “It was such a shock. I was in the next car so it could have been me. I wanted to help as much as possible.

“The conditions were misty. It was raining and it was unclear at first what had happened. I could see someone standing in the road and it was horrific from there on.”

Most Read

Sisters Claire and Jenny Stoddart, aged 18 and 15 respectively, and friend Carla Took, 18, died and two friends were injured. The pals had gone to the concert to celebrate the end of their exams at Benjamin Britten High School, in Lowestoft.

“It's so sad to think that they were in that stadium with me only an hour before,” added Ms Thompson. “I love the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but every time I hear one of their songs I think of those girls.”

Ms Thompson left her job caring for the elderly at Green Gables nursing home in Yarmouth to become a full-time mother to Tamzin, 10, Nikita, nine, and three-year-old Billie-Anne.

Despite her efforts in the most trying of circumstances, Ms Thompson insisted: “I feel unworthy of the reward. I wasn't the only person helping. I feel that I helped to a certain extent, but I was not able to do too much.

“Some people will just keep going if they see a crash, but I just wanted to help; I couldn't just drive past. The judge said that I was able to use my medical experience, but I'm just a care nurse. There was not much I could do; we couldn't move people from the cars.

“All I could do was comfort the survivors - maybe that is what was needed.”

After the paramedics arrived, Ms Thompson put her arms around survivor Adam Cox, and called his parents to say that he was safe.

“My heart goes out to all the parents. I have three children of my own, with another one on the way, so I really feel for them.”

Ben Morphey, of High Street, Yoxford, Suffolk, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years on June 29 after pleading guilty to five counts of causing death by careless driving while unfit due to drink. Two passengers in his car also died.

After the sentencing, Judge Neil McKittrick said: “If any good at all comes out of horrific deaths like this, it is the way people behaved to help.

“Leandre Thompson was driving just after the accident and I cannot imagine the carnage that faced her. In difficult circumstances, she did what she could for those involved.”

COMMENT - Page 28

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter