Tribute to 'truly beautiful' wife killed by drunk driver
- Credit: Cambridgeshire Police
The wife of a woman killed in a car crash paid a heartfelt tribute.
Debbie Rivers paid tribute to Stephanie Rivers, 33 of Warboys who was killed when her car collided head on with a drunk driver.
Liam Mansfield, 27, was jailed at Cambridge Crown Court on September 3 for six years.
He was driving his BMW on the A141 between Warboys and Chatteris just after 10pm on August 20 last year.
He decided to overtake a tractor.
But he mounted the offside grass verge, lost control and collided head on with a Volkswagen Polo.
Stephanie Rivers, 33, of Coronation Avenue, Warboys, died at the scene.
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In court Debbie Rivers, her passenger and her wife, who suffered serious injuries but was able to call 999, read out a tribute.
She said: "I do not want this statement to be full of hate.
"Hate is a wasteful emotion, and I do not want hate to destroy me more than I am already.
"I do not hate you Liam.
"I hope you listen to my words and can in some small way understand how you, who was nothing to me, has changed my life more powerfully, completely, and irrevocably than any other person before you and God willing after you.
"I found out while I was in hospital that Steph, my best friend, my wife was gone forever.
"You have left me helpless since the day our paths crossed.
“Through sheer determination I have returned to work.
"I can no longer perform the physical side of my role due to my arm and leg being held together with rods and bolts.
"Where I was once a confident driver, I now question everything every move other vehicles make. I am afraid it will happen again.
"Not an unreasonable fear considering that while driving home I found myself upside down struggling to breath, in the dark, cold and wet, my foot by my knee and my leg all floppy.
“And hearing my dog crying and the terrifying silence from my wife despite my best attempts to wake her.
“And the helplessness, not being able to tell the person on the 999 call anything other than crying for their help.
"It does not matter how safe our roads are, how much money is spent and what measures are put into place.
"No money or measures could compete with your decision.
"Your journey now will be whatever the court decides.
"My journey is now carrying on, alone, a widow, not yet a mother, making room every day for the pain, uncertainty, fear, and loss.
"I am grateful I did not die.
"I have another purpose.
"It is now my duty to keep the memory of my wife alive.
"To keep our family and friends connected to the love she gave.
"To keep burning bright the light and love she brought into this World.
"You never had the privilege of meeting Steph.
"This was your loss.
"Words truly are not enough to impress on you what a beautiful person Steph was and whatever I say, you will just think me biased, she was after all who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
"We were inseparable, from the moment I met her I knew our lives paralleled; destined to create lives from our own.
"Your actions ripped that apart and have left a void so immense and extensive it feels as if the whole world could be sucked into it.
"Stephanie Rivers was a truly beautiful and generous person who would help any living being in any way she could and wanted nothing in return.
"Her love was pure and uncomplicated, just being in the same room as her would make you feel safe, happy and at peace.
"Sometimes it only takes the loss of one life for the world to feel empty and I, along with our family and friends will always be grateful for the difference that one life made."