06:00AM, Tuesday 16 October 2012
A couple are rebuilding their lives a year after a tragic crash which left a female victim in a coma and killed her family.
Emma Barton, now 20, lost her father Michael and her sister Maggie when the car being driven by her boyfriend Chris, 24, was involved in a horrifying 34-vehicle pile-up on the M25 in Somerset almost exactly a year ago.
They were returning from a family funeral.
Emma suffered horrifying injuries and was in a coma for a week. It was predicted she would be in hospital for a year. But she was out in 24 days.
The couple married in the summer at St Andrew's Church, Clewer. The service was conducted by their family friend Reverend Louise Brown and Emma's dad and sister's ashes were in a casket by the alter.
Emma is back at work at Windsor's Home Store hospice shop. She feels close to the hospice as it cared for her mother who died of a brian tumour seven years before the accident.
She and Chris are starting life again in their new home at Westmead, Windsor. Emma's beloved Staffie dog Batista is with them - a constant reminder of her family.
She said: "He would not stop barking once until he had alerted us that Dad had had a fall."
Chris escaped with a broken nose in the crash. But he and Emma admit the tragedy still affects them every day of their lives.
He said: "I still have nightmares andI don't think they'll ever go away.
"I had gone back to work as a delivery driver when I had a sort of black-out in Dedworth and nearly hit a brick wall. The company told me to go home and I don't know if I will be able to go back.
"People see us smilling but in a way it is all fake. When the doors are closed we can't have to hide our feelings."
He will always remember telling Emma her dad and sister were gone as he sat by her bedside in hospital. He said: "It was the second time she opened her eyes and I told her then. Her tears fell and she fell asleep again."
Now the couple say they are taking each day as it comes.
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