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Mum dies in drunk-drive smash after celebrating passing paramedic exams

‘Sarah we love you forever and always’

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Sarah Giffen / Go Fund Me & Google Maps

A mum-of-two has died after driving while ‘significantly intoxicated’ following celebrations for passing her paramedic exams.

Sarah Giffen-Smith, 32, from Leyland, in Lancashire, died after getting into her Audi A1 while drunk and crashing into a tree on the night of Friday October 14th 2022. The mother of two boys drove around a right-hand bend in West Paddock where she lost control of the vehicle and drove across a grassed-area before smashing into a tree.

Fire crews had to cut the army veteran out of her car and ambulance crews rushed her to the Royal Preston Hospital. Despite surgeon’s best efforts, carrying out an operation to repair her badly damaged liver, she passed away the next day.

An inquest at Preston’s Coroner’s Court heard marks on the road and the grassed-area indicated that she had not attempted to brake after her car left the road.

Sarah Giffen / Go Fund Me

Collision Investigator PC Brendan Williams said Sarah had been wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash and an examination found there were no defects with the car, adding: “The vehicle had left the road to its offside, hit the kerb, travelled across the grass then across the junction with Jubilee Court before colliding with a tree.

“There weren’t any witnesses but there was some CCTV from a property which showed the latter stage of the collision. The vehicle had just negotiated a right-hand bend. It just appeared that the driver continued to drive right and then left the road.

“There was no attempt to return back to the carriageway and no evidence the vehicle was braking. If a vehicle is braking when it goes onto the grass, which was very soggy at the time, the wheels tend to lock before the ABS releases and you get drag marks that pull the grass up but there was no evidence that was the case.

“There was nothing that suggested anything other than driver error.”

PC Williams also said a toxicology report showed Sarah had been ‘significantly intoxicated’ at the time of the accident. Her blood alcohol reading was 228mcg, almost three times the legal limit for driving.

Assistant Coroner Kate Bisset said: “She had been celebrating passing her paramedic examinations prior to getting into her vehicle on the night in question.” In conclusion the Coroner added: “Sarah Smith died at Royal Preston Hospital from injuries sustained in a road traffic collision. She had consumed alcohol before getting into her vehicle.”

A post mortem CT scan revealed that Sarah’s liver was ‘shattered in multiple parts’ as the cause of death was given as traumatic liver injury. Sarah’s friends have set up a fundraising page where they have collected more than £6,000 to help her husband Peter pay for her funeral. 

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Pauline Evans who set up the fundraiser said: “I am raising funds on behalf of Sarah’s family. Sarah, a beautiful young mother of two boys, tragically lost her life in a car accident on 14/10/22 in Leyland.

“Please help me in raising as much as we can to give Sarah the send-off she deserves and support her two boys who are now left without a mum. Sarah was a beautiful soul and served in the army for 10 years. She was selfless, kind and a great mum.

“Anyone who knew Sarah would say she was the life and soul of the party with an amazing sense of humour and life will never be the same without her.

“Sarah we love you forever and always.”

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Police appeal for witnesses after woman killed in Greater Manchester crash

The incident has left many in shock in the Bromley Cross area

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Police have made an appeal for witnesses after a woman was killed in a major crash in Greater Manchester.

The three-car smash happened in Bromley Cross, Bolton on Thursday March 30th just before 11.50am.

Greater Manchester Police officers are now asking to speak to anyone who witnessed the accident on Darwen Road which left one woman dead and a man and a woman hospitalised with serious injuries.

The force are appealing for any dashcam, CCTV and doorbell footage to be submitted.

Sergeant Phillip Collingwood of GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit said: “This was an extremely tragic incident in which someone has lost their life and two others have sustained serious injuries.

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“Our thoughts remain with the families affected who are being supported by specialist officers.

“No arrests have been made and enquiries are ongoing. If you can help, then please contact our Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741, quoting incident 1304 of 30/03/2023.”

As reported in The Bolton News, since the crash, tributes have been paid to the woman who tragically lost her life yesterday afternoon.

The incident saw Darwen Road shut for hours while police, paramedics and ambulance helicopters were in attendance at the scene.

Two cars were seen heavily damaged following the crash as Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service worked swiftly to cut people out of the vehicles.

The incident has left many in shock in the Bromley Cross area.

Information can also be reported online at www.gmp.police.uk. Alternatively, details can be passed via 101 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Paul O’Grady’s husband shares last photo they took together

‘Unbeknownst to us back in January this would be our last ever holiday together’

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@andre_portasio / Instagram

Paul O’Grady’s husband Andre Portasio has spoken out and shared the last photo the couple took together.

Producer Portasio confirmed the death of his partner O’Grady earlier this week. The national treasure died ‘unexpectedly but peacefully’ on Tuesday evening aged 67. Portasio has shared a photograph of the two of them enjoying a holiday together as he revealed it was the last ever picture they shared together.

He thanked well-wishers and said he’s been ‘touched’ by all their support. In a post shared to his Instagram page on Thursday, Portasio wrote: “In time I hope to write to everyone individually and thank you for all posts, messages, phone calls, emails, cards and flowers of support.

@andre_portasio / Instagram

“I much appreciate you all taking the time to reach out. I’m so very touched and I’m sure Paul would be too! Browsing for a picture I found the last picture we ever took together. “Unbeknownst to us back in January this would be our last ever holiday together.”

Alongside the caption he posted a picture of the pair sat on a boat together smiling in the sunshine. The couple married in 2017.

Addressing his husband’s death earlier this week, Portasio said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that Paul has passed away unexpectedly but peacefully yesterday evening.

@paulogrady / Instagram

“We ask, at this difficult time, that whilst you celebrate his life you also respect our privacy as we come to terms with this loss.”

Hours earlier, O’Grady’s close friend Linda Thorson revealed the star died in his own bed with his husband by his side.

ITV has confirmed they will go ahead, as originally planned, and air O’Grady’s new series of For The Love of Dogs next month. The 11th series of the popular show was filmed late last year at the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and will begin on Thursday 13th April at 8:30pm on ITV1.

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Man who discovered James Bulger’s body dies in custody

He discovered the toddler’s body when he was just 14-years-old

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Merseyside Police & Google Maps

The man who discovered the body of James Bulger has died in police custody.

James Riley, 44, discovered the toddler’s lifeless body when he was a teenager. He was with his brother Terrence Riley on a railway line in Liverpool in 1993 when they came across the horrific discovery —he was just 14 at the time, The Liverpool Echo reports.

Mr Riley was taken into custody at St Anne Street Police Station in Liverpool at around 9.45pm on March 14th 2023. He stayed the night in a cell but at around 5pm the next day, police staff found him lying on the floor needing medical attention.

They called for an emergency ambulance but when at the hospital, Mr Riley was confirmed dead. Mr Riley had a string of over 40 convictions for a range of offences.

Merseyside Police

His family say this was a result of trauma caused by his discovery of James’ body. Two-year-old James was abducted by two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, who tortured and murdered him in a crime that shook the UK.

In February 1993, grainy CCTV images showed James being led out of Bootle’s Strand Shopping Centre by the schoolboys. They led him to the disused Walton & Anfield railway station, near Walton Lane police station, where they committed the horrific act.

In May 2017, James Riley was sentenced to two years and four months behind bars after admitting a spate of commercial burglaries. 

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Sarah Holt, defending him in that case, said: “He has been a drug addict for a considerable period of time – all his adult life and in fact, most of his adolescence.

“His problems can be traced back to when he was 14, when he experienced a very traumatic event. It was an event I suggest that meant he is suffering from PTSD, though not diagnosed. He never sought counselling, he tells me.

“That led him at 14 to try crack cocaine and his problems really spiralled from thereon in.”

In 2021 Mr Riley was found dumped in a street wearing just his underwear and holding a knife after a gang sought money for a debt he owed.

West Midlands Police / Flickr

Aberdeen Sheriff Court previously heard that what he encountered in 1993 left a lasting impact on his life. The court heard how Riley suffered with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of finding James’ body.

The Independent Office for Police Custody (IOPC) is now investigating Riley’s death. IOPC Regional Director Catherine Bates said: “This was a tragic incident in which a man has sadly died and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. 

“Merseyside Police referred this matter to us, and as he was in the custody of police at the time he became unwell, it is important there is a thorough and independent investigation.

“We will examine all relevant matters including the interaction officers had with the man on the street, and what happened after he arrived at the custody suite. We have made contact with his family to explain our role and will update them as our enquiries progress.”

Merseyside Police said previously officers are fully cooperating with the IOPC. A spokesperson for the force said: “We are aware that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the death of a 44-year-old man in police custody in Liverpool on Wednesday, March 15th.

“The force’s Professional Standards Department mandatorily referred the matter to the IOPC following the sad news that the man had passed away and we are fully cooperating with their investigation team. His next of kin have been informed and Merseyside Police would like to offer its condolences to the family for their loss.”

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