Happy family were wiped out in crash

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The Independent Online

Chef David Statham and his 33-year-old wife Michelle had always wanted a large family.

Their newest arrival, 10-week-old Ellouise, was the little girl they had long-hoped for to join their brood which included sons Reece, 13, Jay, nine, and Mason, 20 months.

Last year the family made the journey to the Midlands as Mr Statham, 38, wanted to take Reece to see an Aston Villa football game and so the couple could introduce the prized baby girl Ellouise to family and friends.

But all six lives were wiped out in minutes in the horrific crash on their way back from Birmingham to the family home in Llandudno, North Wales, on October 20 last year.

Their silver people carrier burst into flames after it was involved in a five-vehicle pile-up between junctions 16 and 17 on the M6 northbound carriageway.

The couple met as teenagers in Sutton Coldfield and moved in together about a year after their relationship became serious.

In a statement given to police, which was read to Chester Crown Court during the trial, Michelle's mother Carole Hagans said the couple moved to Wales after the birth of Jay.

She said: "They bought a house in Clifton Road with every penny they could muster and settled into the community.

"Within days they got new jobs and in April that year they married - 14 years to the day after they first met."

Speaking of the last weekend she saw her daughter and son-in-law, Mrs Hagans said in the statement: "They all arrived and we had a fantastic time and we decided they would stay an extra day and travel home on the Monday night.

"At about 6.30pm that night Michelle went to bed for a short time so she would be fresh for the drive home."

Mrs Hagans said the couple left Birmingham with plenty of time for the journey.

In her witness statement, she said: "Michelle always sent me a text to say they had arrived home safely.

"But that night I never got a text. I was concerned so I rang the mobile number and house.

"Then I heard about the accident on the M6. I called the police and left my details.

"On the following afternoon I was contacted by police and told my family were involved in the collision and all of them had been killed."

After the deaths tributes poured in for David and financial advisor Michelle, who had been together for 19 years.

At the funeral of the family in November last year, Sister Jennifer McGlade, who led the prayers during the service in Llandudno, said David was a man "who would give his last penny and make anyone welcome in his home" and Mrs Statham was a loving wife and mother whose protectiveness of her four children was "legendary".

She said Reecie Babes - as he was known to his family - had a "celebrated appetite, not just for food but for rugby, the Air Cadets, karate and altar serving".

Paying tribute to Ellouise, Sister Jennifer said: "Twinkle Toes, the baby of the family. The fourth of the four children Michelle and David always wanted."

Sister Jennifer said without Ellouise the family would not have been complete.