Man killed as car demolishes house

Stephen PullingerA 22-year-old man was killed when his car partly demolished the front of a cottage in a near repeat of a high-speed crash less than three years ago.The accident claimed the life of Jack Holyoak, of Horham, near Eye.Stephen Pullinger

A 22-year-old man was killed when his car partly demolished the front of a cottage in Suffolk in a near repeat of a crash less than three years ago.

Retired couple Val and Dusty Smith, who were left living in a caravan for nine months after the first collision in February 2007, were away from their semi in Fressingfield, near Harleston, when the accident occurred at 9.30pm on Friday, a coincidence described as a "miracle" by their neighbour.

While the driver escaped virtually unharmed from the earlier crash, Friday's accident claimed the life of Jack Holyoak, of Horham, near Eye.

Last night, his family from Worlingworth Road, Horham, spoke of losing "a fine young man".

Jack was driving home to his parent's house, after dropping off his girlfriend and two friends at their homes in Harleston, when the accident happened.

Police said Jack was driving a Vauxhall Vectra when he apparently lost control and crashed into Hill House in Harleston Road.

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Emergency services were called, but Jack was declared dead at the scene. It is thought he was thrown from the vehicle on the impact, although an investigation into what happened is under way.

Speaking last night, Tony and Janet Holyoak said reality had not set in as they struggled to come to terms with their immeasurable loss.

With a new job to challenge him, Jack was full of hope and dreamed of his exciting future ahead of him.

Mr Holyoak said: "My beautiful, handsome son Jack… zany, crazy and infuriating at times but always immense pleasure and fun to be around.

"The pain for us is unbearable and the loss incalculable. We will all miss him so very much and for me life has lost a lot of its appeal. He was a fun- loving boy who was going to turn into a fine young man."

Mrs Smith, who was staying with her sister in nearby Syleham while her husband is at a horse show in Wales, said: "When I was told, my first thought was for the driver. My heart goes out to his parents. It is a blow to us but nothing like it is for them.

"I said, please God no. We had a dreadful time in the caravan last time because my husband is 6ft 5in, and the damage to put right on this occasion is a lot worse."

She said they had lived in their cottage at the entrance to Fressingfield for 40 years without any accidents until the one in 2007, but road safety was a big worry as they often had their grandchildren staying.

Michael O'Reilly, 68, who lives with his daughter Amy, 16, in the adjoining Harleston Road semi, said he was watching television when he heard the sound of stones hitting his front windows.

He said: "I looked out the window and saw the front of a white car. When I went outside there were four or five other villagers already around it, but we could not find the driver straightaway.

"Then we discovered him outside the car, under a window partly under rubble. He did not appear to be breathing."

Another neighbour, Mary Pandya, a nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: "I was trying to make a phone call when I heard the bang. It sounded so close."

She went out to see what she could do and felt for a pulse and tried to clear the victim's airways.

Vic Hollis, a building surveyor for Mid Suffolk District Council, inspected the Smiths' home and decided it was now unsafe to even go inside.