Louis Steven James Thorold was the sweetest happiest, joyful and most beautiful baby. He was perfectly ours. He was our lives, he still is. We love, adore and cherish him. Every moment we had with Louis was so special and we loved every single second. Louis knew only love and cuddles, before he was killed by Shelagh Robertson. Louis’ future and all his potential stolen. A life sentence for us, his family, our community and everyone who hears this story.
Why Shelagh Robertson chose to do what she did that day in January, we will never know. Despite killing our son and leaving Rachael for dead, we have never heard from her. No message, no sympathy, no remorse. Any good person would have simply accepted what they had done and tried to make amends.
After 19 months, it’s sad to observe that this is the state of justice in this country, a system designed to support the criminal, not the victims.
That said, she doesn’t win. The world is not full of bad people.
We met some of the most incredible people in the last 18 months, working under the most challenging of circumstances:
The emergency response doctors and paramedics, from the ambulance service, Magpas and East Anglian Air Ambulance who came running to help Louis and saved Rachael’s life
The police officers who ran towards the scene to help Rachael and Louis
Sam Sparkes, the family liaison officer for the police force who works selflessly every day to help families and victims of these types of crime
The detectives in Det Sgt Mark Dollard and DC Paddy Reeve’s team, and the Crown Prosecution Service who worked tirelessly to bring justice despite being thwarted with every trick in the book
The nurses, doctors, therapists and care assistants at Addenbrookes Hospital Neuro Critical Care Unit, High Dependency Unit and the Wellington Hospital in London who helped get Rachael back on her feet
Without these amazing people we would not be standing here today.
"No child should die on Britain’s roads."
We must now look forward. Louis wouldn’t want us to be sad or give up. Louis will live on. His legacy, that one day no one will have to deal with a death of a child on Britain’s roads. The Louis Thorold Foundation has already achieved so much, but this is just the start.
Our message is simple. No child should die on Britain’s roads. The technology, systems and approaches exist to eliminate all road deaths, but require leadership and courage from those we elect to make a difference.
The issue of ensuring drivers are safe to drive is well understood, but the UK has fallen behind most of Europe. Regular Vision, Hearing and Perception tests are commonplace in most countries as we get older, but not the UK. In the UK drivers can simply self-declare and continue to drive until they choose to stop. With dementia and complex conditions affecting more of us as we live longer this simply isn’t good enough to ensure our loved ones are safe.
The facts in this case are particularly troubling, numerous missed opportunities from friends and family to prevent this and an individual who ignored countless warnings and prioritised herself over others. What we need is for these decisions to be made by independent professionals who can assess whether we are all safe to drive. The laws and legal frameworks already exist to make this happen.
"Please, if you are in any doubt of your ability, don’t get in the car."
Please, if you are in any doubt of your ability, don’t get in the car. If you have any doubts about your parents, relatives or loved ones’ ability to drive then please talk to them.
The consequences are serious, real and they last forever. Having a simple conversation can literally save someone’s life. Thank you to all who have supported us so far, I know our little Louis would be proud of us all.
Chris, Rachael and Louis Thorold
On behalf of the Louis Thorold Foundation
The Louis Thorold Foundation is a charity registered in England and Wales with the aim of preventing all deaths of children on Britain's roads. For more information about our campaigns or to donate visit www.louisthorold.com.