RoadPeace member Carrie-anne Hardingham recounts the events following her partner, Stewart Milne, being fatally wounded in a crash
On the 12th of December 2017 it was just a normal hectic day for us as a family, we sent the children to school and headed towards town for those last Christmas presents and wrapping paper.
Stewart loved Christmas, he loved seeing his children’s face’s on Christmas morning whilst we sat half asleep with a cup of tea playing Pogues New York fairy tale.
At 21.35 Stewart left the family home to go to work. He worked at a local school which he used to bike to every day. Stewart put his children to bed and left to go to work, he said if you bring the presents down and make a cup of tea we will get all of the Christmas presents wrapped, he left and said see you in about half an hour my babe….
It came to 22.10 I thought he should be back soon. The time went on, it got to 22.30 I rang him but realised that his phones were at home. I thought maybe it was the alarm system again because that week there was problems with it.
My mum came round to bring some shopping I had asked for, my first words were have you seen Stewart?? Her reply was no, so I said hopefully he will be home soon.
Time was going slow and the more that clock ticked the more I was worrying. My mum rang to say the road was blocked and police were there. My instant thoughts were maybe that’s why he is late he has had to take a different route home. My mum rang me to see if he was home. I said no not yet, she said I will call you back.
By this time I was pacing, my heart was racing, I was waiting for her to ring me back. In the end I rang her so many times and there was no answer.
Suddenly my mum’s partner turned up, I thought oh maybe Stewart had a puncture or was with them, I don’t know. My mind was running ahead with the millions of reasons to why he was late. The next thing my front room lit up blue, police had arrived I thought to myself what is going on, I was not expecting the next thing I heard.
Miss Hardingham?, the police officer said. I said yeah, his reply was can I come in and speak to you, I let him in and his words that will stay with me for the rest of my life were I am so sorry but Stewart is at Addenbrooke’s hospital….. I said what why what’s happened is he ok? His reply was he is critical and very poorly please come with me I will take you to him.
I got in to the police car heading to Addenbrooke’s. I saw the road blocked off, police everywhere, but there wasn’t one person around. Maybe I was oblivious to the world around me at the time.
We arrived at A&E, I asked to see him and was told I couldn’t at the moment. I was taken to a family room where I was just clock watching, wanting to see my man, nurses in and out, I just wanted to see Stewart.
At 7.00 o’clock the next morning the nurses and Dr’s came and got me and took me to Stewart I was not expecting what was next…
I walked to the ICU and there was Stewart laying there he was so poorly and so hurt my heart broke even more. A man who had rode a bike 30 years plus, a man who had never had a collision on his bike ever, he use to bike from Cottenham to Chesterton for work and he never had anything bad happen to him.
I stayed with him for a bit then I had to go home to break the news to our children that their dad was very poorly, seeing my children’s heart break in a million pieces isn’t a way a mum should see a child be so close to Christmas.
I stayed with Stewart every minute I could, I talked to him about everything we had gone through together. The Dr’s told me talking to him helps.
On the 14th of December 2017 the Dr’s asked to speak to me. I thought Stewart was getting better not what I was about to hear….
We are so sorry Stewart isn’t getting any better when the medicine runs out there is no more we can do, he is just too poorly.
I made the hardest decision ever in my life and that was to let Stewart go. My world ended….
On the 20th of August 2020 the driver was sentenced to 3 years in prison he was out in 18 months.
My children will never see their dad again and they think 18 months and a driving ban for 4 years is what Stewart’s life was worth??
When released he was given an exclusion area, meaning he can’t go near certain areas but yet he was allowed to break the conditions and face no consequences. He has freedom to do as he pleases, in 2024 he will be allowed to drive again, and possibly do the same to another family after just a few months in prison and that’s all my partner’s life was worth.
I suffer every day with the ifs, the buts, the whys, every Birthday and Christmas that passes brings more heart ache, this doesn’t get easier it’s more heart breaking. I don’t live I just exist now. Stewart was my lifeline, my world, my everything.
♡♡Stewart Milne 1973-2017 forever 44 and always loved dearly.
Updated on: 22 May 2023