A grieving mom has opened up about what happened on the day when her daughter was killed in a hit and run when returning home from a late shift at a spa.
Twenty-two-year-old beauty therapist Lauren Danks was struck on the A11 in Barton Mills, Suffolk, in the UK, by a car driving at 104 mph after 10 p.m. on Nov. 10 last year, reported Mirror.
When Lauren failed to return home or reply to her mother’s texts, her worried father, Robert, decided to go out to look for her just in case she had run out of gas or had a flat tire.
“I remember Robert saying, ‘It’s not like her not to call,’” Lauren’s mom, Claire, told the newspaper.
About 45 minutes later, Robert called his wife to ask her to drive down to Barton Mills on the A11 as he had discovered their daughter had been a crash.
But minutes after calling, he called again to tell Claire to stay put as he was coming home.
“When I saw Robert’s face, as he got out of the car and walked towards me, his eyes red raw, my heart was sliced in two,” Claire said. “Holding my hands tight, he said, ‘Lauren’s been killed in a car crash.’
“‘No!’ I howled. ‘Not my Lauren,’ as we both sobbed, uncontrollably,” she continued.
Claire, who also has three other sons, Kieran 15, Bobby 11, and Jayden, 8, said police told them on the night that they were hunting for another car, as only Lauren’s vehicle had been found at the scene, reported Mirror.
The next morning the heartbroken mother broke the news to Lauren’s brothers and informed them that police had arrested the man they were looking for.
“Seeing their pain made my own heartache even worse,” she said.
Claire recalled that identifying Lauren’s body later that day at West Suffolk Hospital was “so very hard” but said her daughter looked like she was sleeping.
“Sitting with her every day, I’d talk to her, twiddling her beautiful blonde hair and playing her favorite music. I just wanted her to come home, but she never would,” she told the newspaper.
Lauren’s body was transferred to their local chapel of rest two weeks later during which time the grieving mother refused to leave her side.
“Robert and I would return to say goodnight in our pajamas, once the boys were in bed,” Claire recalled.
— Lauren Danks (@lollylouu) May 14, 2016
The night before the funeral, the heartbroken mother placed a single pink rose and a small tea light in Lauren’s hand, so she would not be alone in the dark. The Danks brought the coffin back to their house for a final sendoff, reported Mirror.
“I just wanted the six of us to be together again for one last time,” said Claire. “My heart broke again, watching the boys talking to their sister, in her casket.”
Claire slept on the floor beside her daughter’s coffin that night.
Lauren’s funeral was held the next day on Dec. 9 at St Andrew’s church, where they played her favorite song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen.
— Lauren Danks (@lollylouu) June 19, 2016
“Instead of planning for my daughter’s future wedding, I’d been making arrangements for her funeral,” Claire told the newspaper.
Nelson Curtis, 64, from Lakenheath, Suffolk, was the driver that night who smashed into Lauren in his Jaguar before fleeing the scene.
Curtis had downed 10 pints of beer over nine hours before, according to the Mirror. He had been driving down the A11 at speeds of up to 134 mph just moments before the crash, reported Mirror.
He was traveling at 104 mph when he smashed into Lauren’s Citroen car, losing a wheel in the process. He continued to drive a further two miles on three wheels.
Curtis confessed to causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop afterward or report a road traffic collision at Ipswich Crown Court in June this year, reported the newspaper.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from driving for eight and a half years.
Claire described the punishment as “disgustingly” light, as Curtis had previously served two bans for drink-driving—once in 1970 and a second time in 2003.
“Our beloved daughter never stood a chance. A car was clearly a lethal weapon in his hands,” Claire said.
“We want the Government to take a critical look at the sentences judges are handing out to these reckless drivers. If we can get tougher sentences, as a deterrent to stop this from ever happening again then, maybe, it will help to ease our pain,” Claire continued.
“He’ll be out of jail and back behind a wheel before you know it,” she added. “How can that ever be justice for taking my daughter’s life?”
Lauren’s mother described her daughter as her “best friend.” Earlier that day the pair had been to a yoga class together followed by coffee, reported Mirror.
“Hardworking and popular, we were always so proud of Lauren. We knew she’d go far,” Claire told the newspaper.
— Lauren Danks (@lollylouu) August 16, 2016
— Lauren Danks (@lollylouu) July 9, 2016
— Lauren Danks (@lollylouu) July 2, 2016
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