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Paignton grandad dies in family trip tragedy

By Herald Express  |  Posted: April 12, 2013

Richard and Paulette Perrin

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A FAMILY trip turned to tragedy after a grandad died and his wife was left seriously injured in a horrific hit-and-run incident.

Richard and Paulette Perrin (pictured), from Paignton, had been in London to visit their newborn grandchildren.

They were in collision with a car as they crossed the road. The car allegedly failed to stop and a police inquiry is under way.

The couple were rushed to intensive care at a hospital in the capital, but Richard, 67, died six days after suffering multiple injuries in the incident. His wife, 65 remains in a critical condition. The couple had been married for 45 years.

More than 150 people have attended a thanksgiving service for Richard at the Little Theatre in Torquay where both he and his wife were popular members of the TOPS Musical Productions.

Richard's sister, Liz Salter, also from Paignton, said: "It has been horrific. We're all still grieving."

The couple were in London to visit their family — daughter Claire, who lives in the capital with her partner, had given birth to their first grandchild Caoimhe on February 12.

Their son Stephen, who also lives in London with his partner, had a son, Jules, just 11 days after Caoimhe was born.

The Perrins were returning to their accommodation after babysitting Caoimhe when they were involved in the accident just after midnight on March 3.

The thanksgiving service for Richard on Friday, March 22, was followed by a private burial at Conqueror Wood.

Donations were collected for Paignton Zoo, because of his love for animals and birds, and Winston's Wish, a charity offering children bereavement counselling.

Sister Liz, 52, said: "It's still very painful because of Paulette's situation. There has been a minor improvement in that Paulette does respond, but it is intermittent.

"Anger is part of the grieving process and we all want to see justice done.

"The family would like to thank everybody for their good wishes and support, including the staff and volunteers at the Little Theatre."

Paulette has been involved in drama at TOPS while Richard helped with props and other tasks behind the scenes.

Richard, a computer engineer who went into property management after he retired and was an active member of the Landlords' Association, was also a member of Torbay Country Bowling Club and very interested in bonsai.

He was undertaking French classes because his son Stephen's partner, Nathalie, is French.

Liz said: "Richard was a big chap at 6ft 4ins tall. He was an active guy, although less active in recent times as he had two hip replacements. He had lots of interests. He loved nature. He bred ducks at one point and had tortoises and fish. He loved gardening and was very good at DIY.

"He was a helpful and very reliable guy. He loved his family and was a very proud grandparent."

Paulette is a retired Shiphay School teacher, who does voluntary work with vulnerable adults.

Andrew Pryce, of Marldon, said the couple had been among his and his wife's closest friends for many years.

He said: "Our hearts go out to their children, whom we have known for most of their lives.

"It is particularly tragic that the accident should have happened so soon after the births of their first grandchildren.

"In February, the four of us went on holiday together and had such a great time we were already planning another trip.

"Even now, more than a month after the accident, it is hard to accept what has happened."

The Metropolitan Police issued an appeal for witnesses and information after the incident.

They said officers were called just after midnight on Sunday, March 3, to reports of two people seriously injured after a collision with a car in High Street, Stratford.

The Met police said: "It is believed both victims were struck as they crossed at a designated crossing point.

"The car initially stopped and two people were seen to briefly exit the vehicle before getting back in and driving away.

"The car was subsequently found burnt out in Leywick Street, Stratford."

The Met police said a man has been charged following the collision.

A 28-year-old Lithuanian man was arrested on Tuesday, March 5, and was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, arson, intent to pervert the course of justice, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident and driving without insurance.

A 29-year-old woman was arrested on Monday, March 4, and was bailed to return pending further inquiries.

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  • maryere12  |  April 13 2013, 7:01PM

    I had a little tear in my eye for you Paulette, I really felt sick why would people do that, my thoughts are with your family, I'm thinking of us doing our Panto dances

  • CharDickison  |  April 12 2013, 10:12PM

    Mrs Perrin (Paulette) was my year 3 teacher, I'm not just saying this because of what's happened but she's the best teacher I have ever had, she is so very lovely and her husband was aswell, I burst into when I found out about this, Rip Mr Perrin, and I pray Mrs Perrin gets well very soon, my heart goes out to her and they're family, I send them my love and my best wishes x

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  • TopMinstrel  |  April 11 2013, 4:33PM

    This is indeed very tragic, last year Paulette was a great help to me when I came out of Hospital after a minor stroke, your help was unasked for but given in the true spirit of friendship, We at the Little Theatre look forward to the day she WILL return. Richard wqas a very nice guy and is a great loss to Torbay. We can only hope that truice is done, for too long I have campaigned for driving tests for foreigners

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  • 1RTEatsea  |  April 11 2013, 10:16AM

    So very sad. I hope that Mrs Perrin does make a full recovery soon to be able to enjoy the joy of her grandchildren, and give some comfort to her family while coping with the tragic loss of Mr Perrin.

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  • 1RTEatsea  |  April 11 2013, 10:15AM

    So very sad. I hope that Mrs Perrin does make a full recovery soon to be able to enjoy the joy of her grandchildren, and give some comfort to her family while coping with the tragic loss of Mr Perrin.

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