Louis Thorold: Parents share HEARTBREAKING final photo with 5-month-old who died after driver crashed into stroller

Shelagh Robertson, 75, the van driver, was charged with the toddler's death but later found not guilty by reason of insanity due to 'undiagnosed dementia'

Louis Thorold: Parents share HEARTBREAKING final photo with 5-month-old who died after driver crashed into stroller
Five-month-old Louis Thorold and his mother Rachael were directly hit by a van on January 22, 2021 (Louis Thorold Foundation)
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CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND: The grieving parents of a five-month-old baby boy who was killed after a van crashed into his pram have said their son "was killed by a driver who shouldn't have been on the road" -- despite a court ruling that the pensioner who caused the death was suffering from dementia.

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Shelagh Robertson, 75, had been charged with the death of Louis Thorold but was later found not guilty by reason of insanity due to her undiagnosed dementia. The toddler's parents, Rachael and Chris, who had tried to conceive for five years before eventually welcoming Thorold through successful IVF, blasted the court's decision in a blog post on Friday, August 12.

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"Why Shelagh Robertson chose to do what she did that day in January, we will never know," the parents said in a statement on the website for the charity started in the toddler's name. "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," it continued. "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. 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 prioritized herself over others," the statement read. They added, "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." The Thorolds also shared a video of their five-month-old son smiling and laughing at his jungle gym. 

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A jury at Cambridge Crown Court found that Robertson's driving was affected by dementia, which had gone undetected and untreated during the Covid pandemic. On January 22, 2021, the 75-year-old was driving home after shopping in Tesco in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire when she veered into the path of an oncoming van and collided. The impact forced the van onto the pavement where it killed five-month-old Thorold and sent his mother Rachael flying into the air. Jurors were shown dashcam footage from the van, which showed the driver swerving to avoid hitting Robertson's Mazda after she made a sudden turn at a junction. The van, which was reportedly traveling below the speed limit, directly hit the mother and her baby's pram. Little Louis was pronounced dead at Addenbrooke's Hospital shortly after the crash. Rachael sustained a fractured skull and broke nearly every bone on the right side of her body, including her cheekbone, several vertebrae, her pelvis, arm, and leg. She was reportedly in a coma for 10 days and drifted in and out of consciousness for more than a month

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"This was an extremely tragic and sad incident and our deepest condolences go out to Louis' family," Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard, from the road policing unit, said in a statement. "We carried out a thorough and exhaustive inquiry, however, regardless of the verdict nothing will ever bring Louis back and his family will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. It is, however, a stark reminder of how important it is for anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle to be competent and capable of driving safely." Dollard added, "I would urge anyone who is concerned about a family member or friend and their ability to drive to speak up, to discuss your concerns with your loved one or alternatively speak to your GP who can submit their concerns to the DVLA."

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As mentioned, the Thorolds have established a charity in their beloved son's name, the Louis Thorold Foundation, with an aim to eradicate child pedestrian deaths by improving road safety and compelling drivers over the age of 70 to be retested regularly, the Daily Mail reported.

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