Bereavement due to traumatic death

Peter - Interview 13

Age at interview: 60

Brief outline: In 2005 Peter's son was killed in a car crash. Tim was only 19 when he died. He was in a car driven by a friend who was drunk. Peter and his wife have experienced a terrible loss. They comfort each other and do not want formal counselling.

Background: Peter is a Sales manager. He is married and has 2 children (1 died). Ethnic background/nationality: White British

Audio & video

Peter’s son, Tim, was a wonderful young man. He had achieved a lot in his life. He was an accomplished musician and he was a sportsman. He had traveled and had done a diving course. He enjoyed his night life, often wasn’t in until after three in the morning, burnt the candle at both ends and enjoyed his life terrifically.
In May 2005 Tim, was killed in a car crash. He was out with his friend and they were returning home late one night. Tim’s friend was driving. He had had too much to drink and the car went out of control. Tim was killed instantly. His friend was taken to hospital but died soon afterwards. Tim was only 19. His friend was 23.
Peter and his wife heard about the crash when the police arrived in the middle of the night. They were devastated. Peter’s first reaction was to go to his local church and join in the service. Later that afternoon they went to see the site of the car crash and found a horrendous scene. The car had hit a lamppost and then a tree.
They then went on to the see Tim in the city mortuary. They were allowed to see him through a glass screen. They also tried to see Tim’s friend in the local hospital, but when they arrived there they found that he had been moved to another hospital.
Over 300 people turned up for Tim’s funeral. He had many friends from the rugby club and from his band. Tim was buried in a beautiful local cemetery. One of his friends played the Last Post. Peter made a cross to mark the grave. They have yet to choose a memorial stone. About a year after Tim’s death Peter and his wife organised a concert in memory of Tim. They collected some money for Brake.
Tim’s death has left a huge gap in people’s lives. Peter and his wife miss Tim dreadfully. They mourn together and have been supported by friends and colleagues. They decided that they did not want any formal counselling. The police liaison officer called a number of times and was very helpful.
The inquest took place in May 2006. There were a number of witnesses, including the police and others who had been at the scene of the accident and the mortician. The coroner concluded that Tim had died because his friend had had too much to drink and had lost control of the car and had caused death by dangerous driving. The coroner said that had he lived the driver would have been sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Peter does some work for the road safety charity Break. He believes that there should be zero tolerance on driving under the influence of drink. Peter and his wife have suffered a most horrendous loss. Peter says that coping with his loss does get a bit easier as time goes by, but he just takes one day at a time. Peter likes to talk about Tim. He wants to keep his memory alive.
Peter was interviewed in 2008.


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