THE grieving family of a teenager who died in a tragic accident say they want answers to solve the mystery of how she died.
Katie Haines died instantly when she lost control of her Ford Ka and hit a barrier on the M27, more than a year ago.
There were no other vehicles involved.
Ahead of her inquest next week, her mother Sally Haines says they are looking for answers as to how the 18-year-old died.
On the evening of September 2, 2013, Miss Haines had been at Farlington Marshes.
But her parents do not know why Katie, who lived with them in Waterlooville, was on the M27, close to the Marriott Hotel, North Harbour, Portsmouth when the accident happened.
They say she was having personal problems – which they did not know about at the time.
And they believe that was the reason why Katie was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.
Mum-of-two Mrs Haines, of Partridge Gardens, Waterlooville, said: ‘Katie was an absolute stickler for seat belts.
‘She refused to move off unless everyone was belted up.
‘But she wasn’t wearing one the night she died and I’m sure it was the emotional state she was in.
‘On the Sunday before she said to me, “Mum, I’ve got everything in life to look forward to.
‘I’ve got my job, my car, I’m looking forward to life”.
‘On the Monday night it all ended.
‘We don’t know what was going through her mind.
‘The police said that, from the impact of the crash, it was as though no-one was driving the car. She was going over the lanes.
‘She could have passed out while she was at the wheel.
‘We’re not 100 per cent sure of anything.’
Katie, who was a keen gymnast, had only passed her test in June 2013.
But her mum, a 50-year-old support worker, says she was a competent driver.
She had had lessons on motorway driving but, in the future, Mrs Haines said she would like to work with the authorities to make motorway driving compulsory.
An off-duty police officer and an off-duty nurse who were at the scene desperately tried to save Katie but she died instantly of massive head injuries.
Her family have organised several fundraising events to raise money for organisations close to their and their daughter’s hearts – Monkey World, in Dorset, and Headway, in Portsmouth.
A sponsored walk is taking place on Sunday.
Miss Haines’ inquest will be held at Portsmouth Guildhall on October 16.
The day a family’s lives changed
September 2, 2013 had been just an ordinary day for Sally Haines and husband David.
But at 10.30pm, just after they’d got into bed, their world fell apart.
There was a knock at the door, which was unusual so late at night.
As she opened it a police officer stood before her, bearing the devastating news that her daughter Katie, just 18, had been killed in a car crash.
Katie, a beautiful and talented gymnast, was driving along the M27 heading towards Portsmouth when her Ford KA hit a barrier.
She died instantly.
A year on, her close-knit family are still coming to terms with what happened. But there are glimmers of happiness as they remember her for the things she loved.
This weekend there will be a sponsored walk to raise money for two organisations close to the family’s hearts.
Katie adored monkeys and some of the money will go to Monkey World, in Dorset, her favourite place.
The second organisation is Headway, a charity which supports people who have suffered head injuries.
Next week an inquest will be held into Katie’s death and Sally hopes she will get answers about how the accident happened.
Katie only passed her test four months before she died.
Although she had experience of driving on motorways while she was learning, Sally, a 50-year-old support worker, would like to work with the police in future to make it compulsory for all new drivers to have motorway experience.
Each day since Katie’s death has been a struggle for her family, who live in Partridge Gardens, Waterlooville,
Sally says: ‘She went out about 8pm and by 9.30pm she was gone.
‘It’s the most horrible thing to have the police knock on your door to tell you your daughter has died. Our world fell apart that night.
‘It’s still as hard now as the first day. You never get over it, it doesn’t matter how hard you try.
‘She was loved by so many. Our family are still struggling. It’s just so hard to think that this beautiful girl, our daughter, will never walk this earth again.
‘All we have is ashes. Not a day goes by when I don’t cry. She was my friend as well as my daughter. I miss the girly things we used to do together. ‘
She adds: ‘We are trying to come to terms with what happened but she will never be back. In our hearts we have memories and these are all we have as nothing will bring her back, which is so sad.’
Katie, a former pupil of Cowplain Community School, spent her entire childhood as a gymnast and won countless medals and trophies, which her parents still display.
Through donations to the Katie Haines Fund, the family have funded a memorial cup at her former gymnastics club in Waterlooville, Harlequins, which has now merged to become Xcel Gymnastics.
Sally proudly handed over the cup last Christmas.
She says: ‘Katie loved gymnastics and won a lot of medals. She used to train four times a week – which was a lot of commitment on her behalf.
‘She was so determined but would put herself down a lot which made her push herself so much to get what she wanted in life.
‘Katie started when she was five years old and did it all the way until she was 16. She had a wonderful figure because she was so fit.
‘For someone who struggled very hard at school, she did well. She wasn’t very good at maths and she’d say to me “I’m so thick”. And I’d say “who used to go to gymnastics competitions every week? Gymnastics is a very hard sport. Do any of your friends do that? No. Don’t ever call yourself thick”.
‘She was very good and we were very proud of her. That’s why we funded the award for the most improved gymnast. We were quite chuffed and know that she would have been proud that it was won by a little boy.’
Katie died at the scene of the accident and her family were informed by doctors that, had she lived, she would have suffered severe head injuries.
Because of this they have chosen to raise money for Headway, a Portsmouth charity that supports people with head injuries.
‘Katie died of head injuries,’ says Sally.
‘If she had lived we know she would have needed a lot of care and support. That’s why we have chosen to support Headway.’
Throughout her life, Katie loved monkeys. They brought her great joy.
She was never happier than with her family at Monkey World, in Dorset.
Her family adopted a chimp called Lulu after she died and a couple of days after her funeral last year a chimp called Thelma was born and will also be adopted in her memory.
It gives rare moments of happiness to Sally and her family to visit, knowing the animal sanctuary made Katie happy.
Sally adds: ‘We are trying to move on with our lives, but it’s very difficult without our beautiful daughter in our life.
‘She meant so much to all her family and friends. We miss our beautiful angel Katie so much.’
To donate to Katie’s memorial fund, go to Katie Haines Fund on Facebook.
On Sunday, October 12, family and friends of Katie Haines are doing a sponsored walk to raise money for a fund in her memory.
They will meet at 11am at Cherry Park Nursery, in Langstone Technology Park, Havant.
That is where Katie worked as a childcare apprentice, a job that she loved.
Many people are expected to join in and walk the six miles to Hayling Island funfair.
All are welcome to join the walk, which will raise money for two charities.
The first is Monkey World, in Dorset, which Katie loved to visit with her family.
A chimp named Thelma has been adopted in her memory and her family provide money for food and other necessary items for the monkeys.
They are also raising money for Headway, a charity which supports people with head injuries.
If you cannot make the walk but would like to donate, go to Nationwide account 070030 61316365 Mrs S Haines.