Spanish police have reopened their investigation into the death of a British woman killed in a hit and run in Tenerife.
Michelle Exton, from Dronfield, Derbyshire, was on holiday when she and her mother, Ann, were hit by a white van which mounted the pavement near the resort of Golf del Sur.
Ms Exton, 50, suffered fatal head injuries and died in hospital four days later, while her 76-year-old mother sustained serious rib and back injuries.
The investigation was “stayed” after three weeks by a judge, meaning police effectively could not investigate further, but authorities have now been given permission to reopen the case following an appeal lodged in March.
Ms Exton’s family, including her daughters, Sophia, 24, and Jess, 15, have now called for anyone with information, including British tourists on the island at the time of the hit and run, to come forward.
Sophia said: “Mum was our family. She was the person we all looked up to and went to for help and advice. She was a wonderful, loving, caring and thoughtful person and didn’t deserve to die in the way she did.
“It is almost impossible to find the words to describe what these past few months have been like. We’ve had to endure so much mental torture.
“Trying to start the process of trying to grieve for Mum has been almost impossible given the unanswered questions we still have about what happened.
“While time has moved on, it’s stood still for our family. The hardest thing to try and come to terms with is how Mum’s life has been taken away while the driver is probably out there still living their life.
“We’re just thankful that the Spanish authorities have seen sense and reopened the investigation.
“We’ve had messages from well-wishers over the last few months and their kind words have brought us some small comfort.
“However, what we need now is for more people to come forward with information about the collision or the moments before and immediately after.
“Even the smallest piece of information could make all the difference in at least honouring mum’s memory.”
Ms Exton and her mother were walking on a road leading from Las Chafiras to Golf del Sur in the south of the island when the crash happened at about 8.30pm local time on December 11 last year.
Irwin Mitchell, the law firm representing the family, said the driver briefly got out of the van after the collision but drove off after seeing the pair on the ground.
The driver is described as a white man who is about 5ft 8in tall with a bald or closely shaven head.
The van could have been a Mercedes Sprinter, Renault Traffic, Nissan Primastar or Vauxhall Vivaro.
The passenger side wing mirror of the white van fell off in the hit and run and was left behind at the scene.
The application to reopen the case was initially rejected but the decision was appealed by Irwin Mitchell in collaboration with Spanish lawyers.
James Riley, the specialist international serious injury lawyer representing the family, said: “Michelle’s family remain devastated by her death and the circumstances surrounding it.
“Trying to come to terms with what happened has been made all the harder by the decision to close the criminal investigation and the subsequent refusal to reopen it.
“All the family have wanted is for the most thorough investigation to be conducted and all lines of inquiry pursued.
“While nothing can make up for what’s happened, we’re pleased that following our legal submissions, the courts in Spain have agreed to reopen the criminal investigation.
“This decision gives hope to the family that the driver involved in the collision will be traced and they’ll receive the answers they deserve regarding Michelle’s death.
“We continue to support Sophia, Jess and Ann and appeal for those with information about the collision to come forward.”
Anyone with information about the collision, the van or driver is asked to contact Mr Riley at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 203 5361 or email email@example.com
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