Mother's agony after daughter's death

A HEARTBROKEN mother yesterday told of her agony over the thought that her teenage daughter could have looked into the headlights of an oncoming car seconds before she was killed.

Grant Sherlock

A HEARTBROKEN mother yesterday told of her agony over the thought that her teenage daughter could have looked into the headlights of an oncoming car seconds before she was killed.

An inquest into the death of 15-year-old Sarah Gaecke heard the Ipswich schoolgirl survived a crash which saw the Renault she was a passenger in career out of control and overturn on the A14 but she was then struck and killed as she tried to walk clear.

Her mother Vici, of Nacton Road, said the thought of the terror that was going through her daughter's mind at the time of the crash was almost impossible to bear.


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She said: “I don't know if she looked up and saw it coming and it kills me to think of that - that her last moments could have been in fear.

“Did she look up and see those lights coming to her? I've lived with this pain for seven months now. The pain is still as raw as it was then, if not more so now because there's not the shock to numb it.”

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Yesterday's inquest at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard that extensive investigations were carried out after the accident on the Ipswich-bound carriageway of the A14 at Nacton on December 21 last year.

Pc Michael Small, a serious collision investigator with Suffolk police's roads policing unit, said those tests revealed the Renault 19 the Holywells High student was a passenger in lost control and spun across the carriageway before becoming airborne, hitting a verge and overturning.

It eventually landed on its roof and came to rest in the carriageway and it was then that Sarah is believed to have either been clambering from the wreckage or had already made it to her feet when there was a another accident.

A Volkswagen Polo which had been travelling along the A14 was unable to swerve clear of the Renault, causing a second collision in which Sarah was killed.

Pc Small said: “It was clear the first vehicle, the Renault 19 which was carrying Sarah Gaecke, lost control and overturned and a second vehicle, a Volkswagen Polo, collided with it.

“It most probably is the second impact with the Volkswagen that caused her death.”

Further investigations revealed a “seriously damaged” rear nearside tyre on the Renault which when tested on another car of the same model caused the car to swerve out of control.

Pc Small said: “We found the tyre was in a dreadful condition. The inside of the tyre had a big ball of broken tyre debris inside it - it was that bad.

“My opinion is that the tyre itself was such a serious defect that it was the most likely cause of loss of control in the Renault 19.”

Recording a verdict of accidental death, coroner Dr Peter Dean said: “What has clearly happened is a very tragic accident that has taken the life of Sarah.”

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