By Hollie Bone
This is the tragic last picture of a couple who stopped to pose for a selfie on the back of their motorbike – just minutes before they were killed in a horror smash.
Lee-Anne Parkin, 40, from Wakefield was riding pillion on a motorbike with her boyfriend, Steve Carroll, 43, when the loved-up pair stopped to pose as they travelled to introduce Lee-Anne to Steve’s family for the first time.
But 20 minutes after this snap was taken the pair were killed after they were hit by a car on March 31.
The couple, who had only been together for 10 weeks, were driving to introduce Lee-Anne to Steve’s family for the first time when they stopped to take the romantic snap outside the Seaways Cafe in Driffield.
Joiner, Steve, was died at the scene, but Lee-Anne was airlifted to James Cook hospital in Teeside where she remained on life support for seven days until doctors pronounced her dead on Sunday April 7.
Now Lee-Anne’s youngest sister, Beth Billington, 25, has shared the snap in a bid to raise awareness for a petition calling on the government to fund air ambulances in the UK, independently of the NHS.
Beth, who works as a prison officer, said: “They were driving through Driffield to meet Steve’s family in Leeds and they had stopped at the cafe for a break and that’s when they took the selfie. The photo was taken just after 1pm and the accident happened just before 1.30pm.
“It’s absolutely heartbreaking, it’s not something I can put into words. You look at that picture and you can see how happy they are but at the same time you can’t help but think maybe if they had never stopped to take it, they would still be here today.
“I’m so happy she met Steve because it was the happiest she had ever been but at the same time there is so much sadness because those two happy young lives have been taken away from us just minutes later.”
Lee-Anne had been a single mum of two for years when she met Steve on Tinder at the start of this year.
Beth said: “They met on Tinder and straight away they were infatuated with each other, we hardly saw Lee-Anne for those ten weeks because she was with Steve all the time, they couldn’t get enough of each other.
“I had only met Steve a handful of times but I knew he got on with Lee-Anne’s two sons and when I met him he seemed like a lovely, fun outgoing guy.
“I was in the bath watching Netflix when my brother called me and told me Lee-Anne had been in an accident and I needed to get to James Cook hospital straight away. I thought he was joking. My hair was soaking wet and I threw on the first clothes I saw.”
Lee-Anne, who had been training to become a legal case worker, had blood around her brain from the impact of the crash and remained unconscious in hospital until she died.
But while doctors could find no ‘purposeful’ signs of life, Beth said her sister showed several responses to her mum’s voice, and believes the air ambulance gave her family the chance to say goodbye.
She said: “It’s tragic for Steve’s family, they never had the chance to say goodbye. It sounds crazy but even though Lee-Anne was unconscious we had that time to speak to her and tell her how much we love her and that makes a huge difference.
“Even though she didn’t open her eyes, there were several times that she moved an arm or a foot, especially when it was my mum’s voice speaking, and we do believe adamantly that she could hear us.”
Since her death, Lee-Anne has saved the lives of five people by donating her organs, but Beth is determined to help her sister leave behind an even stronger legacy.
She said: “The air ambulance are keen to remain independent of the NHS because with that comes certain restrictions for them like being able to carry blood on board, but they are completely funded by charitable donations. I want the government to fund them as an independent organisation.
“We all understand how important the police are, and road ambulances, but until you need it, I don’t think people realise how important the air ambulance is.
“There is no other way they could have got Lee-Anne from Driffield to Teeside in a matter of minutes and it gave our family seven extra days with her. They gave my sister the best possible chance of life and they did everything they could.”