Heartbroken family tell of agony caused by tragedy

SUPPORT Penny and Neal Staley, with their daughter Ellie, alongside Hampshire police chief constable Andy Marsh, left, at the Spinnaker Tower yesterday to back the police's drink-driving campaign. Picture: Sarah Standing (133382-294)
SUPPORT Penny and Neal Staley, with their daughter Ellie, alongside Hampshire police chief constable Andy Marsh, left, at the Spinnaker Tower yesterday to back the police's drink-driving campaign. Picture: Sarah Standing (133382-294)
A screenshot from the video

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IF ANYONE thinks drink-driving is funny, then they should visit the grave of my 10-year-old daughter.

That’s the stark message from Neal Staley, whose daughter Evey, died aged 10, after a drink-driver went into the side of the family car.

As reported, Mr Staley, 46, his wife Penny, 42, and their daughter Evey, had been pulling out of their drive in their Isle of Wight home, before they were hit by Robert Blakely, in August last year.

He was two-and-a-half times over the legal drink-drive limit, and had been smoking cannabis.

Evey was taken to Southampton General Hospital, where her dad made the heartbreaking decision for his little girl’s life support machine to be switched off.

Mr Neal said: ‘If anyone thinks it’s clever or funny to drive after drinking or taking drugs, then I would urge them to visit my 10-year-old daughter’s grave.

‘That crash has had a ripple affect and has changed all our lives, including his.

‘He got 10 years in jail for it.

‘But when he comes out, he will have the stigma attached that he was a drink-driver.

‘It will affect his work and his home.

‘This is why we are supporting the campaign.’

Last night the couple, along with their eldest daughter Ellie, 16, turned the Spinnaker Tower purple – which was Evey’s favourite colour. It was to support the Is It Worth The Risk? campaign to convince drivers not to get behind the wheel while under the influence or alcohol or drugs.

As part of the Hampshire police initiative, the Staleys have agreed to allow the wreck of the car they were travelling in on the day of the crash is to be displayed by police at various sites across the county this month to send out a clear message about the dangers of drink driving.