Coma girl 'unaware she is an orphan' after motorway smash
Published 07/11/2011 | 08:07
A TEENAGE girl, Emma Barton, injured in the M5 motorway pile-up, which has claimed seven lives, is thought to be in a coma and potentially unaware that her father and sister are among the dead.
The 19 year-old remains in a medically-induced coma in hospital after Friday night's multi-vehicle collision near Taunton, Somerset.
Her father Michael, believed to be 67, and her sister Maggie, thought to be 23, died in the smash. It is understood her mother died just a few years ago.
Mr Barton, who is wheelchair-bound, and his young daughters were on their way home in Windsor from a funeral when they became victims of the accident.
Emma Barton teenager is believed to work as a carer in a hospice in Berkshire, while she also volunteers at a charity shop.
Neighbours were in "deep shock" and said that Mr Barton had been "quite poorly" for sometime.
A young woman, who answered the door of the family home in Windsor, said: “It’s just too soon for me to talk about it. We are just devastated. I grew up with them and have known them all my life.”
A neighbour in the tiny road told how the sisters had lost there mother a several years previous.
“They were very close,” said the woman, who did not want to be named. "I think they just had each other.”
She described Maggie as “the loveliest person you could ever meet”. Another neighbour said Maggie was “everyone’s friend” on the small street they lived on.
Emma Barton’s fiancé Chris Burbull, 23, was also admitted to hospital in the crash. It is understood Mr Burbull was at the wheel of the car when it crashed
Neighbours at the home of his mother and stepfather, in Slough, Berks, said that they had heard Mr Burbull was injured in the crash but that his injuries were not life threatening.
On Sunday night his parents left their home to be with their son at the Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton.
Friends said Miss Barton was barely alive and Mr Burbull was maintaining a bedside vigil.
"Chris is really worried about Emma," said Laura Kyte, 20.
"They met as teenagers and I think they've been together for about five years. They are a lovely couple. They'd do anything for anyone and are great to have as friends.
"We are all in total shock. It's awful."
Detectives have confirmed that they believe the collision, the worst on a British road since 1991, may have been caused by smoke from a nearby firework display, which obscured drivers' vision.
Officers from Avon and Somerset police are to investigate the display, which took place at Taunton Rugby Club. In particular, they will examine whether the club had permission from the local council and the police before staging the event.
More than 50 people were taken to hospital after the collision.