Tributes paid to second crash victim

TRIBUTES have been paid to a “delightful, bubbly girl” who yesterday became the second victim of a tragic car crash on a rural Suffolk road.Kirsten Duffus, 19, from Burgate died yesterday in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, after the car she was travelling in overturned in icy conditions on the B1077 at Ashbocking on Wednesday.

By David Green

TRIBUTES have been paid to a “delightful, bubbly girl” who yesterday became the second victim of a tragic car crash on a rural Suffolk road.

Kirsten Duffus, 19, from Burgate died yesterday in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, after the car she was travelling in overturned in icy conditions on the B1077 at Ashbocking on Wednesday.

The crash had already claimed the life of Henry Wingate, 24, from Laxfield, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tragically the car was taking brothers, Henry and Max, Max's girlfriend Kirsten and another teenage girl, to the funeral of the brothers' grandfather, Tomas Bartlett, an 84-year-old widower from Ubbeston, near Halesworth.

Kirsten, a former pupil at Hartismere High School, was described as having “a real zest for life”.

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She lived with her mother, Pauline, stepfather Peter Morgan and elder brother, Ewan.

A Hartismere High spokeswoman said: “Kirsten was a delightful, bubbly girl with a real zest for life. She was hard working, dedicated to her studies, inspired and always up-beat.”

Mr and Mrs Morgan could not be contacted last night but a friend of the family said: “She was a very bright girl and very much into arts and music.”

Meanwhile, tributes to Henry, the son of Candida and Oliver Wingate, now separated and living in Laxfield and Halesworth respectively, poured in yesterday.

Nigel Nelson, Mrs Wingate's partner, said: “Henry was a wonderful young man. He was much loved and will be missed by an awful lot of people, especially his family.

“As you can understand the whole family is extremely upset and devastated by this.”

Henry's mother and Mr Nelson, were caught in the traffic queue caused by the tragic accident.

The couple had set off about 15 minutes behind Henry's vehicle on Wednesday morning and had been stopped in Ashbocking by a line of queuing cars. The emergency services were just arriving.

Mrs Wingate's sister, Sarah Taylor, said Henry had been a “fabulous and beautiful boy”.

She said: “It is very hard to believe this most awful tragedy could possibly have happened. Our hearts also go out to Kirsten's family.”

When mourners waiting at the funerals heard the dreadful news of the accident “a wail went up”.

Mourner Torben Merriott said: “I've never heard anything like it. Even the undertakers didn't know what to do - the place just fell to pieces.”

Mr Merriott, who runs Stradbroke-based Blackwing, a company providing stage lighting, said Henry had previously worked for the company and Max, 19, was a current employee.

Henry's sister, Phoebe, 26, travelled back to Suffolk from her home in Edinburgh after being told the tragic news.

Mrs Wingate is an arts adviser to Suffolk County Council. Mr Wingate is a writer.

Suffolk County Council has confirmed that the B1077 at Ashbocking was gritted the previous afternoon. However, it is understood a decision was made not to repeat the exercise on the morning of the accident.

A council statement issued yesterday said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time. As is the case with any fatal accident on Suffolk roads, we will be fully cooperating with Suffolk police during their investigation.

“At this early stage we do not know enough detail on what the possible causes of the accident were. Any speculation at this moment, without knowing the facts, would be both insensitive and may prejudice any future investigation.

“We would like remind anyone travelling on our roads, whether they are trunk roads like the A14 or small rural roads to take extra care as at this time of year, that weather conditions can make driving difficult and dangerous.”