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Double death's cause unknown

PUBLISHED: 07:17 19 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

TWO families devastated by the deaths of their teenage daughters in an horrific car crash are today having to face the reality they will never know why the accident happened.

TWO families devastated by the deaths of their teenage daughters in an horrific car crash are today having to face the reality they will never know why the accident happened.

An inquest into the deaths of school friends Jane Stanley, 18, of Thetford, and Cheryl Brett, 17, of Bury St Edmunds, has failed to determine why their car veered into the path of on-coming traffic.

"It's going to be with us for the rest of our lives," said Cheryl's father Paul Brett, of Bury Park Drive, after the hearing in Bury yesterday .

"We have to live with the unanswered questions – life will never be the same."

Jane's father Christopher Stanley, of Highlands, said their family would try and move on with their lives, but added: "We would like to know what caused the accident as not knowing is very difficult."

Earlier, witnesses told the hearing that the green Citroen, driven by Jane, swerved violently out of control on the A1065, near RAF Lakenheath, before skidding across the road and into a silver Rover coming in the opposite direction.

It later emerged the Rover driver, David Holder, of Brandon – who himself suffered serious injuries in the accident – knew Cheryl, having worked with her at Sainsbury's supermarket, in Bury.

The accident happened shortly before 8pm on May 15 as the two friends, both students at Bury's King Edward VI School, were on their way from Brandon to the USAF base at Lakenheath for a night out.

The impact of the crash was so severe the engine of the girls' mangled car was ripped out and both were pronounced dead at the scene from their injuries.

Somer Ramsey , who had been a passenger in a car behind Mr Holder's vehicle, said: "I saw a green car coming from the other direction. It was swerving violently but staying in the correct lane.

"It swerved to the left, right and then crossed into the path of the Rover. It was 90 degrees across the road when it hit the Rover. The Rover driver had no chance to avoid a crash," Miss Ramsey added.

Driver Rhoda Henson said: "It was like she (Jane Stanley) had just come out of the bend and was out of control.

"The car swerved four times, then it looked like it was back under control briefly. Then she lost it again and went right across the road."

Giving evidence in a coroner's court packed with relatives, Mrs Henson added: "I don't know what caused her to lose control. I can't answer that question for the families – I wish I could."

Another witness, George Karnitschenko , said: "It was almost as though the person who was driving over-compensated when the car swerved. The car then dug in and came across the lane."

The inquest also heard a statement from Mr Holder, who is still recovering from his injuries, which included a broken shoulder, collarbone and torn artery.

"It was just a normal day," he said. "Then I remember seeing a car coming towards me. It was a long way ahead and out of control. I have no recollection about the impact."

Police accident investigator Pc Andrew Garden said it was impossible to know what caused Jane to lose control of the car.

"I have no suggestion as to what it was that caused the initial swerve," he said.

Post mortem examinations revealed Cheryl died of a fractured skull and broken back while Jane's death was due to damage to a main artery.

Dr Peter Dean, greater Suffolk coroner, said: "We are left with some unanswerable questions but what has clearly taken place is a very tragic accident."

A verdict of accidental death was recorded in both cases.


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