Essex fatal crash victim’s family tell court of emotional pain caused by collision

Paul Stevens, 49, from Elmstead Market, who died in A133 crash at Weeley on February 20 2016. Pictur

Paul Stevens, 49, from Elmstead Market, who died in A133 crash at Weeley on February 20 2016. Picture: STEVENS FAMILY - Credit: Archant

‘My heart was truly broken’ – family of fatal crash victim Paul Stevens speak of the impact on their lives.

Mr Stevens, from Elmstead Market, was killed on February 20 last year in a head-on crash on the A133 Weeley bypass.

Today Conor Sansom, 21, from Clacton, has been jailed for four years for causing death by dangerous driving.

Paul Stevens’ wife, two daughters, son, and father Brian – himself seriously injured in the crash – all gave what the judge described as “extremely moving” impact statements.

His wife Sonia spoke of how she had lost “the love of my life”.

She said, in the document read by prosecutor John Caudle: “I went from waking up happily married to my soul mate, my best friend and other part of me, thinking of the wonderful year ahead we had to look forward to – Paul celebrating his 50th, Samantha would celebrate her 21st, Scott a teen and Katie, our eldest, having our first grandchild – then a phone call and rushing to a crash site.”

It was “torture” to watch her family being extricated from the car “one by one”.

Mrs Stevens wrote that at the hospital, “I could see his chest open, I could see his organs fighting to keep his body alive”.

Most Read

When she had to say goodbye, “my heart was truly broken.”

Mrs Stevens said a delay over a decision by the defence about a second post-mortem “denied my kids the opportunity to touch and kiss their dad goodbye. By the time they finally made their decision Paul’s body had already started to deteriorate and no way I could allow my children to see their father like that”.

She shared 24-hour care for her father-in-law Brian Stevens and Katie’s stress affected the baby when she was born.

“My future and Paul’s future are no longer. We had our children when we were young so we could enjoy them and then have our time when they had grown up. This time has been robbed from me.”

Now on anti-depressants, Mrs Stevens wrote: “I try to come to terms with the loss of the love of my life.”

Daughter Katie, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, wrote that she had been “scared for ever” by the crash and watching her father die.

“Not a day passes when I don’t remember the horrible moments in the car. I lost my dad and gained memories which will haunt me.”

She had been robbed of joy in her pregnancy and her daughter would never know her granddad .

“For us as a family, it’s not just a moment of pain but the start of a lifetime of missing my dad.”

His son Scott wrote of the loss of his best friend and father. He had returned to Essex University where his father had worked. “We had talked about how great it would be when I got to study there. That’s why every single day I am reminded of experiencing the friendship of my dad, of simply grabbing lunch together or playing pranks on one another.”

Daughter Samantha chose to read her statement to the court. With her voice choking and hands shaking, she said worse than finding out her father had died was “I was not only not allowed to say goodbye but not touch him without someone in the room when he had passed.”

She added she had had to break off her nurse training for a time. Her father wasn’t there to see her graduate.

“My dad will not be there to walk me down the aisle, read out a wedding speech.”

Her voice trailing off, she said: “Most people have no idea what they want their father to be. I never had to imagine. He was everything...”

Brian Stevens’ is still suffering the effect of his injuries. His quality of life is affected, including walking.

But he wrote that his health problems “paled into insignificance” against the pain of losing his son.