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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 18:17 GMT
Bus crash families speak of loss
Neal Cooper
Neal Cooper crawled under the bus to check his son-in-law's pulse
The father of one of the victims of a bus tragedy that claimed the lives of five people has spoken of the moment his daughter was killed.

Holidaymakers Paula Rhodes, 30, and her husband Richard, 33, were on a day trip to Ingoldmells, Lincs, with her parents, Neal and Annette Cooper.

Mrs Rhodes and her partner, from Mansfield, were about to get into their car, where her parents were, when the double decker ploughed into them.

Mr Cooper said: "I saw my daughter, who

I obviously recognised, but my inner brain would not accept it was her at the time.

That day destroyed my future and for me today is just another day
Anthony Warren

"I had to come back to her and walk around her several times.

"Richard was underneath the bus a few yards further down the road.

"I crawled underneath the bus to try to check his pulse but he had no pulse."

He said the family were still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.

"It's as if somebody has reached inside and taken away the part of you that makes you happy and it's never going to come back again," he said.

"No matter what we do we will never be completely happy again because we will always have that black shadow hanging over us."

Neal and Annette Cooper and tree planted in memory of their daughter
Neal and Annette Cooper are still coming to terms with the tragedy

On Wednesday Stephen Topasna, 51, of Bridge Street, Louth, admitted five counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

Mr Rhodes' parents Peter and Janet added in a statement. "Although this is the final chapter in the investigation it doesn't end here for us.

"We have to continue with the rest of our lives and cope with our loss each and every day."

The crash also killed Joanne Warren, 37, and her sons, five-year-old Jacob and four-month-old Leyton, of Leicester.

Her husband Anthony, 42, was also seriously injured in the crash.

In a statement read on his behalf after Topasna was jailed for five years, he said: "That day destroyed my future and for me today is just another day.

"It does, however, allow me the opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the past 18 months."

Neal Cooper
We will always have that black shadow hanging over us

Bus driver jailed for five deaths
09 Nov 05 |  Lincolnshire

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