Ipswich: Mum’s powerful tribute to dead daughter
It is two-and-a-half years since 25-year-old Kate Wasyluk was killed by a speeding driver as she walked along an Ipswich street. Today, speaking for the first time since the tragedy, her mother tells reporter LIZZIE PARRY how she is finally able to look to the future.
MUCH of the last two-and-a-half years has been a blur for Dot Richardson.
But her memory of the morning of Saturday, February 20, 2009 is crystal clear.
“I remember police knocking on my door and the officer telling me I needed to sit down,” the 58-year-old said.
“He told us about the accident and said two girls had died – and they believed one was Kate.
“I just screamed.”
Kate, 25, had been walking home along Foxhall Road after a night out with pals Emma Harold, 26, and Beccy Harold, 25, when a speeding car driven by drunk and drugged up Scott Nicholls ploughed into the trio.
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Kate and Emma were killed, Beccy was left with serious injuries.
“My husband Keith came with me and we went to identify Kate’s body,” said Mrs Richardson.
“I remember walking into the room and saying ‘oh my darling Kate, what have they done to you?’.
“I don’t know how long I was in there with her, but I kissed her. I couldn’t accept it.
“That whole day will remain with me forever.”
The trauma of her daughter’s death was almost too much to bear for Mrs Richardson, who struggled to cope with the crippling pain of her loss.
Indeed, it is only now that Mrs Richardson can finally bear to read the press cuttings on the crash.
But despite the agony of the last two-and-a-half years, she today reveals that she has not allowed her anger at Nicholls, who was just 20 at the time of the incident and who is currently serving an eight-year jail term after he admitted causing death by dangerous driving, eat away at her.
“I can’t let what has happened take me down any lower than I have been,” she said. “The anger didn’t last very long. To me anger is a wasted emotion, it just eats away at you.
“My anger now is directed at people driving recklessly, putting people’s lives in danger.
“Scott Nicholls has still got his life but my view is that it was a sheer act of stupidity.
“I am one for family values. Kate, Emma and Beccy had wonderful family lives. But that young man did not get a good start in life.
“We all make mistakes.”
Mrs Richardson admits she suffered a psychotic breakdown after hearing her “angel” had been taken from her.
She left the home in Chelmondiston she shares with her husband Keith and booked into a hotel – but it wasn’t long before she was admitted by Suffolk Mental Health.
But gradually, she has grown stronger and learnt to live without her beloved daughter.
And with the help of friends, her husband, son Remy, 30, family members and health professionals, Mrs Richardson is looking forward.
Wearing the ring Kate was given by her dad on her 21st birthday, Mrs Richardson said: “I want to thank you, the paper for never bothering me. My doctor’s surgery have been fantastic, the nurses and doctors at the hospital, everyone has been wonderful.
“The dark, dark nightmarish days have gone now. My heart turned to stone, with a few jagged edges.
“But every day I notice those jagged edges getting smoother.
“I will never see Kate age or suffer, she will always be that beautiful, stunning 25-year-old.
“I can still hear her laugh and I still text her, it is my way of coping.
“I do cry, though I couldn’t at first. It catches me unawares, when I see a group of girls enjoying life, I just can’t help but think that should be my Kate.
“She was my angel.”