THE family of a lollipop man killed in a collision with a car have spoken of their heartache that they will never see their ‘Ray of sunshine’ again.
Relatives of Ray Elsmore were left disappointed after two trials into the 82-year-old’s death failed to reach a conclusion.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict at the first trial in Portsmouth and during the retrial in Southampton earlier this year – leading to the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case.
It is more than 18 months since the grandfather-of-seven, of Florentine Way, Waterlooville, died after being hit by a car during his afternoon shift in Tempest Avenue, a short walk from his house. But the emotional wounds are still as painful as ever for his loved ones.
His children, Yasmin Clarke, 59, from Horndean, Beverley Robinson, 54, from Waterlooville, and Nigel Elsmore, 48, from Wiltshire, have jointly submitted a statement to The News.
They said: ‘For us as Ray’s family, there will never really be the right words to describe how we have been left feeling since he was killed.
‘It is hard enough for anyone to lose a family member or friend, even if their death is expected or is of natural causes.
‘However, the fact that Ray’s death was so unnecessary and so avoidable, makes it that much more difficult to deal with.
‘We are extremely grateful to Sgt Darren Ord and his team at Hampshire Constabulary and to the Crown Prosecution Service for everything that they did in their attempts to secure a guilty verdict both at the trial in Portsmouth and the subsequent one in Southampton.’
Ray, a retired railway worker, was immensely popular with parents and children during his 11 years at Queen’s Inclosure School in Waterlooville.
His memory will live on for future generations in the school’s memorial garden.
The centrepiece is a sundial propped up by the figure of a lollipop man.
The family statement added: ‘Ray meant so much to so many people, in a way that would be impossible to even begin to describe on paper.
‘However, the fact that he was so loved by so many friends, neighbours and community members, including all those he helped cross the road on a daily basis, leaves us feeling extremely lucky and proud to be able to say we are a part of his family.’
Lauren Paul, 23, of Holly Drive, Waterlooville, always denied causing Mr Elsmore’s death by careless driving and she will not face a retrial.
The News attempted to make contact with her after the court case but was not successful.