Bereavement due to traumatic death

Dean - Interview 36

Age at interview: 66

Brief outline: Dean's son, Andrew, was killed in 2006. He was hit by a car which was driven by a man who was not insured and who was driving illegally. Dean felt shocked and devastated. He has found help via friends, family, RoadPeace, the Spirualist Church and others.

Background: Dean is a Principal Care Officer (Retired). He is married and has 3 children (1 died). Ethnic background/nationality: Indian

Audio & video

On Wednesday 24th May 2006 Dean received a call from the police. He was told that his son, Andrew their only son, had been hit by a car. Andrew was 21 years old. The police took Dean to the hospital, where he found out that Andrew had died. This was a terrible shock. Andrew had graduated with a first class honours degree and was about to go to Harvard to continue his studies to become a lawyer. He was a wonderful son and had a close relationship with his parents, Dean and Sarjit. His death was a devastating blow to them both. At the hospital a local Hindu Priest gave Andrew last rites, and then Dean and Sarjit sat with Andrew for a while before going home.
At home Dean and Sarjit were met by family and friends, who were very supportive. After about a week a Police family liaison officer also offered support. Help was also offered by Dean’s GP, by the local MP and by the Hindu Council of the UK. RoadPeace, a UK Charity, also offered support in many ways.
After Dean had collected the death certificate Andrew’s body was brought home. The family had a Hindu ceremony at home and then went on to the crematorium for final prayers and offerings and other rites. The ceremony was conducted by a local Hindu priest. Over 400 people attended the local crematorium, and many people paid tribute to Andrew. Andrew’s ashes were brought home. One day Dean hopes to scatter them in the sea, as is Hindu tradition.
Dean and Sarjit discovered that Andrew had been hit by a car when he was waiting for a bus, near to their home. The driver of the car was driving illegally and the car was not insured for him to drive. Dean and Sarjit have erected a bus shelter in the place where Andrew died. On both sides of the shelter there are plaques in memory of Andrew.
The inquest was held about six months after Andrew’s death. At the inquest Dean was not given the opportunity to question the driver of the car that killed Andrew. Dean’s barrister was not allowed to question the driver either. The verdict was one of “accidental death” ,which Dean finds hard to accept. Dean would have preferred a verdict of “death by dangerous driving”. However, this was not given, partly because there were no witnesses who were willing to make a statement.
After the inquest the matter was referred to the magistrate’s court. The driver was convicted of careless driving, fined £250 for court costs, and sentenced to 16 months Community Service.
The shock of Andrew’s death affected Dean’s health. He had a heart problem which led to a triple bi-pass operation. Dean is also sure that Andrew’s death affected his wife’s health. Sarjit had a brain haemorrhage/stroke soon after Andrew died, and has not fully recovered.
The sense of shock continued until after Andrew’s funeral. Dean felt angry that his son had been taken away so suddenly for no apparent reason. Now Dean and Sarjit feel that their lives are empty. At times they feel very lonely and depressed. They miss Andrew very much indeed. Dean and Sarjit have found some comfort by attending a Spiritualist Church. They have received messages from Andrew via a number of mediums. Dean believes in reincarnation, which is also a comfort.
Dean was interviewed in 2009.


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