Family's heartbreak after child crash verdict

Evey Staley Photo: Hampshire Police

Following the verdict at Newport Crown Court today, Evey Staley family released this statement:

“On 24 August last year our beautiful Evey was tragically taken from us when our car was struck at speed by a vehicle being driven by Mr Robert Blakely.

"Evey had such a zest for life; she was a loving, happy and content 10 year old who had her whole life ahead of her, we will always miss her presence; her voice, her laughter and the pride we felt watching her grow into a wonderful young person. It breaks our hearts every minute of every day to try to come to terms with never being able to see her, hear her or cuddle her again.

"There are simply no words to express the enormous pain we have all suffered since that day and the circumstances in which we lost Evey make it even harder to accept her death, circumstances which were wholly avoidable and the responsibility of one individual who has devastated our close and loving family.

"Robert Blakely made a sober, conscious decision to drink and drive that day knowing that he had to travel from Cowes to his home in Sandown. When he killed Evey he was speeding and he was over twice the legal drink drive limit and he had a banned substance in his system as well. According to many witnesses, who saw how recklessly Mr Blakeley was driving, the fact that only Evey was killed was a miracle in itself.

"We are disappointed that the maximum sentence Mr Blakeley could have received for killing Evey was 14 years. That he got less than this and will likely have his sentence reduced further for his guilty plea and good behaviour is an insult to our family as he will end up doing very little time compared to Eveys’ and our sentence.

"We would like to mention that we have been subject to rumours circulating which are totally unfounded and extremely painful to our family. As a result of the police investigation we were admonished of any fault by the Crown Prosecution Service. When we pulled forwards out of our drive on the day of Evey’s death the road was clear in both directions. The truth is Blakely’s speed was so excessive that he appeared from nowhere and gave us no time to react. Our car was shunted 30 yards down the road and destroyed by the sheer force of the collision.

"Our fragile little girl took the full force of the impact and didn’t stand a chance. We take some comfort in the fact that she knew nothing about it. After Evey was taken to St Marys Hospital and then flown on to Southampton via Air Ambulance, giving permission to switch off her life support and being asked to consider organ donations will haunt us forever. Evey donated her organs to six people, aged from 27 weeks to 42 years. Her heart was used to give life to a one year old. For that we are extremely proud.

"We would like to thank the emergency services, hospital staff and Air Ambulance for their care, compassion and professionalism. You truly are angels. That we are still here is testament to your dedication and skill. We know Evey got the best possible care quickly and accept that there was nothing that could be done for her.

"To all of the witnesses that came forward from Cowes to Northwood and to all of the people who stopped on the road and came out of their houses to give first aid and assistance, we will be forever grateful. You know who you are. Thank you.

"Our thanks and admiration also goes to the Police investigation team. From the very start wek now you have worked tirelessly in gathering evidence and have kept us informed at every opportunity. We couldn’t have asked for more.

"Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who has sent us get well messages and letters of support, condolence and love. From everyone closest to us, to those we don’t know, we have been overwhelmed by your kindness.

"Our battle to deal with our loss has only just begun; it’s a horrible, stomach churning, tearful and emotional place we never wished to be in. Evey’s sister Eleanor has been our rock, she keeps us going and we are so immensely proud of her for the way she has carried herself throughout such a devastating and traumatic time. She has dealt with situations and has seen things that no 15 year old should ever have to deal with. Ultimately she is happy to have her, albeit broken, Mum and Dad still here.

"If any good is to come from our tragic loss, we would implore anyone who has the faintest inclination to drink and drive to please think again. You do not know who or what is around the next corner. The pain and heartbreak you will cause is indescribable.

"We miss our little girl so much and need to try to deal with our loss as best we can, so we would respectfully ask that our family are now left to grieve in peace."

Linda Yen Fox, asolicitor with Fentons Solicitors LLP, has confirmed she is representing the Staley family in civil proceedings relating to the tragic incident.

“We are pleased that criminal proceedings have now come to an end,” said Mrs Yen Fox, “but as the civil case on behalf of the Staley family is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”