News Shopper was sickened when it heard about the heartless driver who ran from the scene where a girl lay dying to try to avoid arrest. Reporter JOHN HIGGINSON spoke to her family ...

A YOUNG girl killed in a hit-and-run accident will be buried in her bridesmaid's dress.

Gemma Rolfe, 12, of Cornwallis Close, Erith, died when a van smashed into the side of a car being driven by her stepfather Dean Robey in Slade Green Road.

She was being taken to Guides when a white Austin Maestro van pulled out from Canada Road, in Erith, and hit the back of the Suzuki Vitara rolling it onto its roof.

The Suzuki was then hit by a BMW coming in the opposite direction as Mr Robey and Gemma hung upside down by their seatbelts.

The driver of the white van, which was reported to police as lost or stolen, fled the scene on foot.

Erith Secondary School pupil Gemma was taken to Darent Valley Hospital by ambulance but was declared dead on arrival.

Mr Robey, 39, of Halcot Ave, Bexleyheath, suffered four broken ribs and a fractured collar bone after the crash at 7.15pm on May 19.

The railway worker told News Shopper: "Gemma was an amazing girl. She was top in all of her classes and was brilliant at poems. When she read her poems I would sit there with my mouth wide open with awe.

"She was fantastic. She was always worried about the amount of suffering in the world. She had such a warm heart."

Her scaffolder dad John Rolfe, of Wickham Lane, Welling, had been working in Norwich when he heard the news his daughter had been in an accident.

He said: "My little girl has been taken from me and all I feel is emptiness in the place she once took in my heart."

Gemma was looking forward to being a bridesmaid at the wedding of her mother's sister Carol Ford on July 26 and she will be buried in the dress she was going to wear on the day.

Her mum Janet Ford, 36, of Cornwallis Close, Erith, said: "She was so looking forward to being a bridesmaid. She was my baby and my life. Gemma had so many personalities. I will never feel the same again."

A teenager has been arrested and released on police bail.

Anyone with information about the accident should call Catford collision investigation unit on 020 8284 5988.


PLANS to bring in new traffic controls in Slade Green could be fast-tracked in the wake of the death of Gemma Rolfe and two other serious accidents in recent weeks.

Already a petition demanding speed controls has gathered more than 800 signatures in the area.

North End councillor John Easthaugh who also lives in Slade Green, said the accident in which Gemma was killed had only heightened his concerns about the two roads which give access to Slade Green.

He and fellow ward councillor Sylvia Malt have already met traffic engineers who are working on a Safer Routes to School project planned for Slade Green.

Cllr Easthaugh said initial consultations with parents and staff at Slade Green infants' and junior schools had pinpointed Bridge Road, up to its junction with Whitehall Lane and Slade Green Road, to its junction with Canada Drive as the area where action needed to be taken to slow traffic. This would include the sites of all three recent accidents.

Consultations still need to be done with the public and local businesses. Cllr Easthaugh said initial plans are already on the drawing board. "But there is an urgency about getting things into place," he said.

Petition forms are available from Mark Hibberd on 01322 335451 or email at

He is also looking for help to collect signatures.


One of Gemma's last poems

People these days don't know what life means.

It is not just money and fancy jeans.

But some people live it to the full.

Not going round hurting, thinking it's cool.

Here is a story of sorrow and pain.

So God please help me never tell it again.

A man on a rampage a man with a gun.

Acting a hooligan thinking it's fun.

He takes out his weapon aims it at a man.

He pulls a trigger with a sudden bang.

A man falls to the floor wounded and hurt.

Another spots him and calls to help and alert.

Rushed to hospital past all the traffic.

I won't explain his wound far to graphic.

Now for the sorrow, now for the pain.

He didn't quite make it never to experience life again.

The man with the gun the one who committed the crime.

The police were too late, he'd gone just in time.

He will never realise just what he's done.

Don't copy him I swear it is not for fun.

He did not know she was dead until he got to the hospital

And saw her bruised and battered body lying before him.