THE mother of a “lovely” and “incredibly popular” young woman, who died after her car hit a wall in Taunton, has thanked everyone for their support.
Speaking to the County Gazette for the first time since the incident, her mother, Sharon Staple, said the family are still struggling to come to terms with Jessica’s death.
She said: “I knew she was popular but I didn’t know how much until after the event.
“So many people loved and adored her, she just had this amazing personality that whoever met her loved her.”
Sharon said she was expecting Jessica to drive home on the night and became anxious when her daughter was not answering her calls.
She added: “I remember a police officer answering the phone and my partner took me down to the scene.
“We went to the hospital but we couldn’t see Jessica because she was having an operation – when they told me the bad news I could not breathe, I was just semi- screaming in the relatives room.”
Animal-lover Jessica, who had previously studied at Heathfield School and Somerset College, left behind Sharon, father Nick White, older brother Robert White and younger sister Alice Staple.
She had just moved to Ilminster with Sam Brewer, her boyfriend of ten months.
Sharon said: “It still does not feel real, I just expect her to walk through the door as if she’s been on holiday – it is so hard, we are devastated.”
Floral tributes from friends and family are still by the scene of the crash and more than 200 people attended Jessica’s funeral at Taunton Crematorium.
There was also a minute’s silence before the start of Taunton Sunday League side Blue Park Rangers’ final football match of the season, with the players wearing black armbands as a mark of respect.
Sharon said she has been overwhelmed with support from Holiday Inn, who provided the wake for free, Tristan’s Restau-rant on East Reach, and her friends.
She added: “I would also like to thank the team of surgeons, both from Taunton and Bristol, who worked so hard to save her, although unsuccessfully.
“We have been amazed by the support from everyone.”