Leamington death crash victims’ families describe their heartbreak

Ryan Case
Ryan Case

Families of three young people killed by a drunk driver have described the devastating effect the tragedy has had on their lives.

The parents of Emily Jennings, Ryan Case and Nathan Rhodes spoke of their children and the devastating impact of their loss during the court case last week.

Nathan Rhodes

Nathan Rhodes

The three friends were killed in a crash in Radford Road on June 20 last year.

21-year-old Jamie Riddick, of Park Piece, Kineton, was jailed for nine years after he admitted to three counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The pub worker held a provisional licence and was almost twice the drink-drive limit in an uninsured car when he offered a lift home to the trio who he had met just hours earlier in a nightclub.

Gillian Jennings, mother of Emily - who lived in Warwick and had a child - said: “To lose any family member is heartbreaking but to lose a beautiful daughter, aged just 27, is soul-destroying.

Emily Jennings

Emily Jennings

“Emily was a truly beautiful girl, not only to look at, but inside too. To be blessed with her when I was 40, to hold her in my arms and promise I would always care for her and love her so much and then for her to be taken so tragically, through no fault of hers, is the most traumatic experience I have ever faced.

“Everyone says they are close to their children but Emily and I were especially so.

“We saw each other every day - we had spontaneous shopping trips, lovely holidays, fun times and never any arguments in 27 years.

“She was so precious to me and will always be in my heart and soul, never forgotten. The tears still flow and always will as I miss her so very much.”

Shaun Case, father of 25-year-old Ryan who lived in Stockton and had three children, described his son as a bright, funny, independent and hardworking young man who was always full of fun and life. He said: “Ryan was determined to work hard to build a good life for himself and his children. Whatever he was interested in, he threw himself at it with all his heart, determined to be successful at whatever it was.

“No parent ever imagines burying their child and in such horrific circumstances as this it is even more unimaginable.

Barbara Hatcher, mother of 23-year-old Southam boy, Nathan Rhodes, said her son lived his life to the full and that if he wanted to do something he would always do his best.

She had been abroad, in Mexico, when she received the news of Nathan’s death and described the next 24 hours when she travelled home as the longest of her life.

She said: “His death really affected our lives - the grief, anger, fear, loss, sadness, guilt and loneliness.

“Tears fall at any time of the day and night and sometimes and all day and night and the feeling of guilt if I don’t think about him or cannot picture a nice image of him in my head for a few minutes will cause even more distress.”

Following Riddick’s sentencing at Warwick Crown Court, Rebecca Hearsey from Irwin Mitchell spoke on behalf of the families.

She said they were relieved with the outcome and felt justice had been done but were “heartbroken” and “still trying coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones”.