Family Appeals For Witnesses Or Those With Information About Driver To Come Forward
The family of a British mum fatally injured in a hit-and-run in Tenerife have launched a legal challenge against the decision to close an investigation into the crash.
Michelle Exton, from Dronfield, Derbyshire, was on holiday in the Canary Islands when she and her mum, Ann, were hit by a white van which mounted the pavement.
Michelle, aged 50, suffered catastrophic head injuries. She was taken to hospital but died four days later as a result of her injuries. Ann, aged 75, suffered serious rib injuries in the crash which happened near the resort of Golf del Sur.
Spanish Police launched a hunt to trace the van driver. However, three weeks after the incident a judge ‘stayed’ the investigation, meaning the case was closed and police were effectively barred from investigating further.
Following the decision Michelle’s family, including daughters, Sophia, 23, and Jess, 14, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate. The legal experts have now filed court documents in Spain asking that a judge re-open the case.
James Riley, the specialist international serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “Sophia and the rest of Michelle’s loved ones are devastated by her death and how what was meant to be an enjoyable holiday ended in such tragedy. The decision by the judge to stay the investigation has only added to their pain.
“Michelle’s family believe that the decision was made before a thorough and proper investigation could be carried out and has denied them the chance to see the driver brought to justice.
“While nothing can make up for their loss we’re determined to help Michelle’s family. Therefore, we call on the Spanish authorities to recommence the investigation, allowing Michelle’s loved ones to at least be provided with the answers they deserve and some form of closure.”
Michelle and Ann were on a road leading from Las Chafiras to Golf del Sur in the south of the island when the crash happened at about 8.30pm local time on Sunday, 11 December 2022.
Following the collision, the driver briefly got out of the vehicle and saw the couple on the ground, before driving off.
Ann spent the night in hospital having sustained rib trauma, cuts and bruises.
The family are appealing for witnesses, including British tourists who will have been on holiday at the time, to come forward with information about the driver and the collision.
The driver is described as a white man, approximately 5ft 8ins tall with a bald or closely shaven head. The passenger side wing mirror of the white van fell off in the collision and was left behind at the scene.
The family have been told that the police believe that the van could have been a Renault Traffic, a Nissan Primastar or a Vauxhall Vivaro.
Sophia said: “Mum was the best mum me and Jessica could ever wish for. She was kind, loving and caring. While she was our Mum she was also our best friend.
“Mum was a ray of sunshine, a role model, she always had a smile on her face and her door was always open. She was always there when we needed her but would also go out of her way to help others.
“Nothing was ever too much trouble for Mum. Everyone loved her and she would light up the room. She really was beautiful inside and out.
“At times it almost doesn’t feel real that she’s been taken from us. However, we then feel the hurt and pain of losing her and the reality that she’s no longer here kicks in.
“The last couple of months have been such a mix of emotions. Hurt, pain, grief, anger. The decision to close the investigation has just added to the stress of everything.
“We’d do anything to have Mum back in our lives but we know that’s not possible. Our focus now is on at least trying to honour her memory by getting the justice for Mum that she deserves.
“We want the authorities to leave no stone unturned in trying to trace the driver. We’d be so grateful to anyone who came forward with information about the driver or the van. Lots of British people go to Tenerife on holiday, or have family that live there, so hopefully someone might have seen the van or the driver and come forward.
“However, we also appeal to the driver to find their conscience and come forward. This wasn’t a minor incident. My Mum, who had so much to live for, was killed and a family ripped apart forever by his actions.”