Peterborough dad speaks of moment he said goodbye to daughter as she fought for life - after crash caused by drink driver which killed his wife

There were sobs in the public gallery as a court heard how a dad was told he needed to say goodbye to his daughter after she was critically injured in a collision caused by a drink driver - which also left her mum dead and brother injured.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 5:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:03 pm

Katy Cunningham had been to see a friend who had suffered a bereavement on the afternoon of January 23 last year.

She had set off for home with daughter Freya (11) in the front seat and son Zak (8) in the rear of her Peugeot when drink driver Adam White ploughed into the back of another car, before careering into the path of her car.

Mrs Cunningham could do nothing to avoid the head on collision, sending the Peugeot into a field, ending up on its side. She suffered fatal injuries, despite the best efforts of medics and passers by, who also battled to free the young children from the wreckage.

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Zak and Freya

Peterborough Crown Court heard Freya suffered life threatening injuries, and needed to be taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge - but was first taken to Peterborough City Hospital to be stabalised.

Dad Chris Cunningham was called, and the court heard he was told to see his daughter to say goodbye, as they were losing her.

Thankfully, Freya pulled through, after spending two weeks in a coma, and two months in hospital, but she is still recovering, as is Zak, who suffered neck and spinal injuries.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Cunningham said: "I was told 'she is slipping away. You need to come and say goodbye.'

"She was in a deep coma. For some time I could only communicate with her through blinking.

"I've had to sit down twice and tell someone their perfect, beautiful mummy is dead. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy - that includes you, White.

"My children will have to grow up without their mummy. No mummy on parents evening, no mummy on sports day, no mummy at their wedding. They will grow up having all their firsts without their mum."

He said White had ripped his family apart, and Zak and Freya were 'different children' as a result of the crash.

He also spoke of hearing how White had been caught drink driving after the crash, saying it made him 'sick to the stomach.'

Katy's sister, Caroline Brown, spoke of feeling 'numbness' when she heard what happened - and initially said she hoped White would be able to turn his life around, saying she hoped 'something good could come from the case.' But after hearing he had been convicted of drink driving, she said she was 'devastated.'

Sharon Almey, who suffered serious injuries when White smashed into her car, said she felt guilty about the crash, wondering if there was something she could have done to prevent the death and injuries suffered by the Cunninghams.

But Judge Lowe said no-one had any culpability other than White for anything that happened, and Mrs Almey could have done nothing to stop what happened.

Mrs Almey, a nurse, herself suffered injuries to her shoulders and face, and had to take three months off work as she could not carry out some of her role - and was still suffering mentally and emotionally as a result of what happened.

She said she was also having trouble sleeping, and had to give up her hobby of horse riding.