Mum relives horror crash that killed her daughter, 7, and father-in-law

A mum has relived the heartbreaking moment she found out her young daughter and father-in-law were killed in a horror crash.

Seven-year-old Tiggy Frankel, her grandfather Richard Frankel, 68, and a pet dog were killed when his car smashed into the back of a parked lorry at 68mph near Newcastle.

Tiggy's mum, Becky Frankel, was travelling in a separate car after a day out and became worried when she noticed that her father-in-law's car was no longer behind her.

Becky, 45, told ChronicleLive that two fire engines went past her and Richard wasn't answering his mobile phone, and she was given the devastating news when two police officers arrived at her home.

She has spoken out about the August 2008 tragedy to encourage others to drive safe and hopefully prevent deaths on Britain's roads.

Becky was in a car with her mother-in-law and two youngest daughters, while Tiggy, her father-in-law and two dogs were in a vehicle travelling behind them.

The mum, from Wylam, Northumberland, said: "On the way up the three girls and my mother-in-law had come with me, but on the way back Tiggy said it was a long journey for Richard to go by himself."

When she came off the A1 onto a slip road she noticed Richard's car was no longer behind her.

She said: "I tried to go back to look for them but there was lots of traffic on the opposite side of the road, then I saw two fire engines going the way we had come.

"My mother-in-law was trying to ring Richard but couldn't get through.

"We decided to go home to see if they were already there, but they weren't.

"I put on the radio and at that point they said there had been a crash at Kingston Park on the A1 southbound.

"I had been feeling incredibly anxious from the moment they weren't behind us, but I felt even more anxious then.

"I rang the fire service and gave them a description of the car, and they said they would let us know.

"Then I went to play the piano – a piece that Tiggy liked me to play because she danced to it. That was to feel close to her because I knew I couldn't go back to look for her.

"Two police officers arrived, I ran outside to meet them on the pavement, and that's when they told us."

It later emerged that Richard had entered a layby without braking and crashed into the back of a lorry at 68mph.

Becky said: "One thing we do know is that he would never have wanted to have a crash.

"The most likely explanation is he mistook the layby for a slip road. The layby has been shut since, and there are quite a few laybys that are not really safe, either because they're too close to a slip road or because they're too narrow."

Becky channelled her grief into activism, becoming involved with the road safety charity Brake.

She was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2016 and has raised funds for the charity by swimming the length of the English Channel in a day.

Becky said: "I don't believe anyone wants to crash but it can happen and it is preventable. By making safer decisions when driving hopefully less crashes will happen. When I drive I'm always aware of the damage it can do and the devastation it can cause.

"It's changed the way we live our lives."

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