Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Lincolnshire woman devastated when husband and stepdaughter died in Belgium crash reveals she can “finally begin to move forward” after 8-year wait for justice

A Lincolnshire woman devastated when her husband and stepdaughter died in a crash in Belgium says she can “finally begin to move forward” after a High Court judgment ended her eight-year wait for answers.

Alain Schmit was driving an Audi A6 in the Arlon area when he was involved in a collision with a Mitsubishi Evo, the driver of which was found to be speeding.

Alain, 53, and his 18-year-old daughter Amandine, who was a passenger in his car, were taken to hospital by ambulance. Both died from their injuries.

Following the collision, in February 2015, Alain’s widow Deborah Wood, 59, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate what happened.

Eight years on, a judgment handed down by the High Court on Friday concluded that the driver of the Mitsubishi was also responsible for the collision, despite previous judgments in the Belgian Courts which placed all of the blame on Alain.

Deborah, from Spilsby, Lincolnshire, has revealed she can now start to move on from her “nightmare.” It comes after her legal team helped secure her a five-figure sum awarded by the court.

James Riley, the specialist international serious injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Deborah, said after the hearing: “Understandably, the past eight years have been incredibly difficult for Deborah as she attempts to come to terms with losing both her beloved husband and stepdaughter in such tragic circumstances.

“Deborah has always believed that the Mitsubishi driver’s actions that day weren’t blameless and she was determined to honour her husband’s memory by at least establishing all of the facts regarding the collision.

“We feel we put forward strong legal arguments as to why the decision of the Belgian authorities to absolve the Mitsubishi driver were wrong. While nothing can make up for what’s happened, we welcome the judgment. It finally gives Deborah the answers she’s been waiting for.

“Deborah’s story is also a stark reminder of the potential dangers on the roads and the need for everyone to take care at all times. We’ll continue to support her as she continues her attempt to come to terms with her loss.”

At the time, Deborah and Alain were living in Messancy, Belgium, having moved there in 2013. Amandine spent weekends and holidays with them.

The crash happened on Avenue de Luxembourg on 21 February 2015, whilst Alain was crossing the junction with Chemin de Dele and Birel.

The High Court judgment found that the Mitsubishi driver was travelling “well in excess of the speed limit,” doing between 65mph and 70mph in a 55mph area.

It also found that while Alain had stopped at the junction’s stop sign, he drove across a cycle lane. Had he stopped at the cycle lane, on the balance of probabilities, the Mitsubishi would have been visible to him and “the collision would have been avoided.”

However, there were findings that when the collision occurred, Alain “had not yet encroached on to the southbound carriageway.” Furthermore, at the point of collision the Mitsubishi driver “had veered to the left…into the turning lane” and had he not done that, “the collision would have been avoided.” The judgment also found that if the Mitsubishi had been travelling within the speed limit, it would have been able to stop and “the collision would have been avoided.”

As a result, it was concluded that responsibility for the crash should be apportioned on a 50/50 basis.

Deborah said: “When I arrived at the crash scene, I was speaking to Alain so I thought everything was going to be okay, but once I got to the hospital I realised the severity of the injuries he and Amandine had suffered.

“I was there with Alain’s family and Amandine’s mum, and when we were told that she hadn’t made it, I was in complete shock; I couldn’t take it in. Then to be told that Alain wasn’t going to survive and we had to say our goodbyes was incredibly traumatic. I was completely heartbroken.

“It’s taken me a long time to even begin to come to terms with what happened that day. I lost my husband and my stepdaughter, who I saw as my own daughter, in the space of a few hours.

“For the past eight years, my world has stood still while I sought the answers I needed to honour Alain and Amandine’s memories. The judgment has finally provided me with those and a sense of justice, and I’m thankful for that.

“I’d give anything to bring Alan and Amandine back, but I know that’s not possible. All I can do now is finally begin to move forward from the nightmare I’ve been living. I also hope that by sharing my story, I can urge others to stay safe on the roads. My life was completely shattered in a few seconds and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £27.55 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.

Advertisment












Latest posts

Margaret marks 30 years as a school crossing patrol

Pupils, teachers, parents and pedestrians have joined North Lincolnshire Council in thanking school crossing patrol Margaret Long, who last month chalked up 30 years...

A triumphant opening weekend for ‘Live at Lincoln Castle Concerts’!

An exuberant crowd of 10,000 concert goers filled the grounds of the historic Lincoln Castle this weekend for the opening of the much-anticipated Live...

Classic Ibiza reveals full orchestral set ahead of sold-out Burghley House return

With Classic Ibiza’s sold-out return to Burghley House near Stamford on Saturday 27 July just over a month away, the concert organisers have revealed...

Moving house in Lincolnshire: a quick start guide

At the beginning of 2024, the average house price across the whole of the UK was around the £280,000 mark - shocking considering that...

Free family fun coming to Sutton-on-Sea

Sutton-on-Sea is all set for a busy summer of free family events and activities, as part of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership's...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close