Grieving family suffer second tragedy

A GRIEVING family has been hit by a second tragedy on the anniversary of the death of their teenage daughter.

LET us pray for her.

That was the plea today after it emerged that Vici Gaecke's six-year-old son died suddenly - a year to the day after she tragically lost 15-year-old daughter Sarah in a road accident.

Mrs Gaecke now needs all the love and support she can get as she prepares to lay to rest another of her children.

Ambulance crews were called to her Ipswich home yesterday morning but Jacob, who had severe physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, was already dead on arrival.

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Mrs Gaecke would have been dreading the first anniversary of her eldest daughter's death ahead of yesterday but instead a fresh wave of grief has engulfed her as her only son has been cruelly taken from her.

Christmas has become a time to dread for the Gaeckes as last year young Sarah was tragically killed just three days after her 15th birthday and now six-year-old Jacob has died just days before the start of a new year.

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They say no parent should ever have to plan their child's funeral but Mrs Gaecke is having to face that prospect for a second time in 12 months.

The heartbroken 37-year-old, of Nacton Road, who is also mother to baby Isabelle, was too upset to talk today.

But speaking a year ago, she spoke of how close Sarah and Jacob had been.

“Sarah was a second carer to Jacob,” Mrs Gaecke said.

“She managed to care for her brother and also have a social life.

“Because of Sarah, there are a lot of people who now understand more about disabled children.

“She was very protective of Jake. She would defend him to the hilt.”

Police are treating the death as unexplained and added that further inquiries were being carried out. He was already dead by the time an ambulance crew arrived at the home at 8.30am yesterday.

Jacob was born with holoprosencephaly, a brain malfunction, and this profoundly affected his physical abilities.

Neighbours were already mourning the sad anniversary of Sarah's death when the latest tragedy occurred and they were also too upset to speak about the death of the young boy.

Inspector Chris Wolton said: “The child was pronounced dead at the property a short time later. The death is being treated as unexplained at this time and further inquiries are being carried out.

“The coroner has been informed and a post mortem examination will be carried out in due course.”

An ambulance spokesman said a crew attended the scene following a phone call saying young Jacob was already dead.

A spokesman added: “The ambulance conveyed the boy to the mortuary.”


Sarah Gaecke, a pupil at Holywells High School, died three days after her 15th birthday on December 21, 2007.

She was a passenger in a car on A14 near the Orwell truck stop, when it was involved in a collision with another vehicle.

She managed to climb from the wreckage but was struck by another car. Sarah was pronounced dead at the scene.

The car in which she was travelling was being driven by Samuel Clements who, it later emerged, was uninsured. Meanwhile, his vehicle was found to have a defective tyre.

It emerged that she has been on her way back to Ipswich after going to Felixstowe to put a friend's horse away for the night.

Her mother, Vici Gaecke, was distraught when the Renault driver was given fines and penalty points by magistrates in Ipswich and she said he should have been sent to jail.

Speaking at the time, Mrs Gaecke said: “Sarah was a joy. She had been through some rough times but the last few weeks she was at peace with her life.

“She was a lovely young woman.”

Sarah was born at RAF Lakenheath, where her American father Chris Gaecke, 42, was based before being posted back to the US.

When she was three the family moved to California, where they lived for six years. They then moved to Arizona but Sarah's parents separated about seven years ago, with her mother returning to Ipswich.

The music-loving teen stayed with her father and brother Aaron, 13, but regularly visited her mother in Ipswich and about a year before her death made the decision to live here permanently.

Following his sister's death, Aaron said: “Sarah was the best big sister and I loved her and will always miss her.”

Mrs Gaecke said Sarah was a wonderful sister to her siblings - Aaron, 14-month-old sister Isabelle and six-year-old Jacob.

The court case:-

VICI Gaecke criticised the judicial system after the uninsured motorist who was driving daughter Sarah on the night of the accident escaped with a £265 fine.

Samuel Clements, 20, illegally drove his Renault 19 two days after buying it, but the vehicle was unroadworthy.

As he sped along a busy dual carriageway, he lost control of the car and rolled it along an embankment, coming to rest upside down. Sarah was stumbling out of the wreckage when she was struck and killed by another car.

Despite previous convictions for driving without insurance and without a licence, Clements walked free.

He was fined £25 for driving without a licence, £40 for having a defective tyre and £200 for having no insurance.

He was also ordered to £80 costs and given eight penalty points on his driving licence.

The trainee forklift-truck driver was banned from driving for a year under the totting up rules because he already had six points for his previous offences in March last year.

Mrs Gaecke said: “There's no justice. There's been no closure.

“If he'd been imprisoned there would have been justice for Sarah. Even community service would have been better than a small fine.”

- Leave your messages of support for the Gaecke family by posting comments below.

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