Tributes to woman killed in forest crash

TRIBUTES were paid last night to a 28-year-old woman driver who died in an accident close to a travellers' site on the edge of a Suffolk airfield.Suffolk police named the victim as Kelly Baker, of Broadlanes, Elmstead Market, near Colchester.

By Richard Smith

TRIBUTES were paid last night to a 28-year-old woman driver who died in an accident close to a travellers' site on the edge of a Suffolk airfield.

Suffolk police named the victim as Kelly Baker, of Broadlanes, Elmstead Market, near Colchester. She had been in a blue Daihatsu Sportrak vehicle with four other people when it overturned. No other vehicle was involved.

The accident happened on a fire track on the extreme western fringe of Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge. It is believed that Miss Baker could have been going to the large illegal travellers' site by Woodbridge Airfield to see her father.


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The incident took place on private land at about 8pm on Monday and it was attended by the police, fire and ambulance services. Officers have visited the travellers' camp to make inquiries.

She was taken to Ipswich Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The four other passengers, who have not been named, were taken to hospital with back injuries which are described as non-life threatening.

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Yesterday Mick Robinson, a neighbour of Miss Baker, spoke of his shock at the death of the girl he had known since she was five.

He said: ''She was a really nice girl, she never hurt anyone. I last saw her to speak to about six weeks ago, she was a beautiful looking girl, she really was.

''She used to do gymnastics for Colchester and went over to the twin town of Avignon representing

them when she was a youngster.

''I cannot believe the news that she is gone. She was a good fun girl and I could not say a bad word about her.''

It is understood that Miss Baker has a youngster sister who lives in Colchester as well as her mother.

Miss Baker hit the headlines back in August 2001 when she streaked at an Essex cricket match at Castle Park in Colchester, cart wheeling across the pitch to cheers from the crowd.

At the time the trained gymnastics teacher told newspapers that she saw herself as a ''wild child and free spirit.''

She said of her exploits: ''It was an incredible response, the crowd were cheering. It was absolutely the most amazing experience of my life.''

Simon Leatherdale, the Forestry Commission's Sandlings beat manager, said: ''We deplore the unauthorised access of the land but a life cut short is a tragic loss.''

Suffolk police is appealing for anyone who saw the vehicle in the forest or who saw the collision to contact them. Pc Andy Fossey at the police headquarters Roads Policing Unit is investigating the incident. He is on 01473 613500.

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