Family of Anne Kerr, who was killed by Chorley HGV driver, issue emotional statement and video after sentencing
The devastated husband of a teaching assistant killed on her way to work by a lorry driver on his phone has spoken of his ordeal.
James Majury, 33, is starting an eight year and 10 month jail term after admitting causing death by dangerous driving in relation to Anne and pupil Joe Cairns, 14, when he struck a minibus on the M58 last January.
Her husband, Simon Kerr said: " This is my victim personal statement following the death of my wife, and mother to our children, Anne Kerr, on the M58 motorway on Tuesday 8th January 2019.
"Anne was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an auntie and finally a friend, to so many. She was a caring and a compassionate person who put the needs of others before her own. This compassion is reflected in her career path. During her life Anne had been a psychiatric nurse and a teaching assistant at a school for children with learning disabilities. Her final job was that of a school mini bus escort at a school for children with learning disabilities. Whilst not a particularly well-paid job she did it because she enjoyed it and she loved the children she worked with. Anne could have easily found employment elsewhere but she enjoyed her work at Pontville School too much.
"Anne and I met when she was 19 years of age, we quickly fell in love and we married in 1990. During the years after we met I changed jobs which entailed moving to the Isle of Wight where we lived for 22 years. During those initial years Anne gave birth to our two children Daniel and Joshua.
"At a fairly young age Josh was diagnosed with a learning disability, and would eventually end up attending a school that Anne worked at as a teaching assistant for children with speech and communication difficulties. Anne and I saw how much Josh thrived at this school and we were so proud of his progress and so grateful for the input from the school.
"As the years progressed both Anne and I (as much as we loved our lives on the Isle of Wight), were drawn back to the North West, partly due to the fact our parents were becoming elderly and we knew they would need us as they aged further. I took voluntary redundancy in 2013. Our family returned to the North West and both she and I found employment soon after. Anne worked at Pontville School. Both she and I loved being back close to our relatives, Anne formed close bonds with her young nieces and nephew. Two of Anne's siblings were very young when she was died. They were 3 and 6 years old.
"Since January 8, 2019 life has been tough, unbearable. Getting up in the morning and having any normal routine is tough, I put on a fake smile for others, but behind that face I am overwhelmed by what has happened. It is a reoccurring nightmare. I am a broken man
"Writing this statement in itself has been difficult, remembering our life together and how she has been so unfairly taken away from myself and our family is hard to express. Anne was only 50 years old and she was a young 50 year old; she was in good health and should have had many years ahead of her.
"During Anne's working day she and I would keep in regular contact through text messages to check all was going ok.
"On Januury 8, 2019, just after 8.40am I texted Anne saying I hope her run was going ok. She replied soon after “YEP ALL IS GOOD THANKS, JUST ON THE M58 SO ROADS BEEN A BIT QUIETER. ALL BOYS SETTLED TOO. HOW IS YOUR MORNING GOING QUIET OR BUSY? X X“
"This was the last contact I had with Anne, I messaged Anne back a few times and rang her however I had no reply. At the back of my mind I knew something was wrong. We shared that connection that people who love each other have, call it instinct or something that can’t be explained I do not know, but I knew something was very wrong.
"I contacted my work and told them that I thought something may have happened. I then started contacting the hospitals, police, Anne’s mum and dad and Anne’s school to try and get some news. During this ringing round I was phoned unexpectedly by a Lancashire police officer, who enquired where I was. I knew then straight away, although I hadn’t been told at this point, that Anne was dead. I kept hoping and praying that I was wrong.
"Scenarios played out in my head that she was injured and the police officer was coming to take me to see her, however in my heart of hearts I knew. Despite this I even Googled “Why would the police come to visit after an accident” I was looking for reassurance, I was hoping to find something that would tell me I was wrong and everything would be okay. I never received that reassurance, and upon the police arrival my worst fears were confirmed.
"Nothing can prepare you for the total devastation and emptiness you feel when you are told that the person who you love most will never come home. You will never see them smile again. Never hear them tell you that they love you. I will grow old, Anne will remain forever 50 years of age.
"When those who knew her also die, Anne will be forgotten, she has been denied any opportunity to make any further impact on this world.
"When told of Anne’s death, the only solace I could find was that her death was most probably quick. Writing that I am glad my wife died a quick death is beyond surreal, I should not have to be grateful for this. Anne should have lived to an old age and should have died an old person surrounded by those who love her. She didn’t deserve to die on that cold January morning on the M58.
"It was my responsibility to inform Anne’s parents and our children that she had been killed, this is a terrible thing to have to do, the pain you already feel knowing the pain you are going to inflict on your loved ones is horrendous.
"Anne was our rock, the emptiness I feel around the house is overwhelming. All our plans for the future and our retirement were taken away from us on the M58. I struggle daily with her loss.
"Since Anne’s death, I struggle to sleep at night, I wake up some nights in a confused and dazed state and it takes me a few seconds to realise why Anne is not lying next to me in bed. In those seconds of me coming out of my sleep I forlornly hope that Anne’s death was just a nightmare, the reality of the situation quickly comes back to the forefront of my mind.
"At the time of me making this statement, I still mourn her loss on a daily basis, I get upset at times I least expect it. I may be able to move forward with my life at some point but I will always look back with regret at what could have been.
"Anne’s sudden death has had a financial impact on myself and my family, our household has lost a wage. Paying rent and bills has become difficult compounding an already stressful situation with the worry of how we will cope financially?
"Finally, it would be amiss for me not to talk about our children and how Anne’s death has affected them. As previously mentioned Josh has a learning disability, the help and support Anne gave Joshua throughout his life was unrivalled and she was instrumental in getting him the support we knew he needed in his early school life. Joshua misses the routine of his mother being around during the daytime with the support and confidence she gave to him. He has withdrawn into himself and does not want to absorb or know any information regarding his mum’s death. To say he struggles daily with the psychological impact is an understatement.
"I’m upset that Anne parents have had to bury their child, no parent should ever have to do this. Anne will never meet her grandchildren, she will never be that support for her niece and nephew that she should have been, she has been denied a life, we as a family have been denied our rock.
"There are no winners for anybody involved with this. I hope that people will remember this and think about the devastation that has been caused before picking up their phone whilst driving. Sadly it is too late for our family but not for the next victims.
"I finish this statement with a statement Anne herself made on Facebook on her 50th birthday
"Anyone who knows me will know how much I dislike birthdays and especially dread BIG birthdays. I don't know whether its because I'm older or wiser but today I'm shouting it out loud......"tomorrow I'm going to be 50!!" I'm thankful to be surrounded by the best husband and sons anyone could ask for and to have the support and love of an amazing family. Reaching 50 is a privilege denied to many so just in case I didn't shout it loud enough...."HOW LUCKY AM I, I'M (almost) 50!!!!!"