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‘Our daughter’s life was worth little more than three weeks’ shopping’ - Parents’ anger at £320 fine for death driver

PUBLISHED: 08:09 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:09 09 November 2018

Helen Lovegrove who was killed when the taxi she was travelling in was hit by another car near Thetford. Picture: Caroline Vincent

Helen Lovegrove who was killed when the taxi she was travelling in was hit by another car near Thetford. Picture: Caroline Vincent

Archant

The parents of Helen Lovegrove have spoken of their devastating loss and anger at the sentence for the driver who admitted causing her death by careless driving.

More than 200 people attended the funeral of Helen Lovegrove. Picture: Caroline VincentMore than 200 people attended the funeral of Helen Lovegrove. Picture: Caroline Vincent

Miss Lovegrove, 47, who lived in Magdalen Street in Thetford, was killed when the taxi she was travelling in to visit her housebound parents – who were reliant on their daughter – was hit by another car on the A134 at Barnham.

Abbie King, 23, who had her left leg amputated below the knee while she was in a six-week coma after losing control of her vehicle, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in a wheelchair on Tuesday to admit causing her death. Magistrates fined her £320 and disqualified her from driving for 12 months.

Speaking for the first since the accident in May 2017, Jim and Pauline Lovegrove, who live in Thetford, said the death of their only child had left them “empty inside” and that they had “lost our reason for living”.

Mrs Lovegrove, 72, said: “Obviously there are rules that magistrates have to adhere to but it just seems strange that they came out with that figure as a fine. It seems our daughter’s life was worth little more than three weeks’ shopping at Tesco. We are angry about the system but there is nothing we can do about it because it’s the laws of the land.”

Helen Lovegrove died in the crash on the A134 at Barnham near Thetford in May 2017. Picture: Archant LibraryHelen Lovegrove died in the crash on the A134 at Barnham near Thetford in May 2017. Picture: Archant Library

In passing sentence magistrates said they could not punish King any more than she had punished herself.

Mrs Lovegrove, who is wheelchair-bound after a brain tumour, said: “I agree and I was the first one to defend her when it happened. She has got to live her life with the thought that she has killed someone, but it wasn’t anybody’s fault but her own.”

Mr Lovegrove, 81, who suffers from dementia, has struggled to come to terms with his daughter’s death. “There are only so many times a day I can tell him ‘no your daughter isn’t coming today’. It’s extremely difficult and he is inconsolable,” said Mrs Lovegrove.

The couple moved from Essex to be closer to their daughter who moved to Thetford after previously living in Horsham, West Sussex.

Helen Lovegrove with her friend Caroline Vincent. She was well known in Thetford. Picture: Caroline VincentHelen Lovegrove with her friend Caroline Vincent. She was well known in Thetford. Picture: Caroline Vincent

Miss Lovegrove volunteered in various charity shops, looked after her parents, and was well-known around the town. More than 200 people attended her funeral.

“It was unbelievable the people who came,” said her mother. “The church was completely packed out which was amazing to see. People said wonderful things about her. She was a beautiful daughter, and a lot of people are missing her a lot.”

One of her close friends, Caroline Vincent, said: “Helen really was wonderful and really one of a kind who deserved more. There was over 200 people who came to her funeral so you can imagine how well known and loved she was. The best friend I could ever have asked for.”

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