There were multicoloured balloons and enough flowers to fill a florist's shop as relatives and friends gathered to remember 12-year-old Gemma Rolfe, who was killed a year ago. Chief reporter LINDA PIPER reports ...

THEY met in Slade Green Road at the junction of Canada Road in Slade Green, on the spot and a year to the minute, that Gemma, 12, died in an unsolved hit-and-run incident.

Erith School pupil Gemma was killed on her way to Guides on May 19 last year, when the car being driven by her stepfather Dean Robey, 40, was hit by a white van.

Her mother Janet Ford, 37, and Mr Robey visited the accident scene early last Wednesday to leave a wreath of Gemma's name in white flowers, a pink teddy bear and a moving letter to her dead daughter.

Later that evening, the couple returned with Gemma's brother Kye to join more than 100 family friends, primary and secondary school pals and four firefighters who cut Gemma out of the car, to remember her.

The Rev John Ross, Vicar of St Paul's Church, in Northumberland Heath, led prayers and at 7.10pm, the moment the family believe Gemma died, police stopped the traffic for one minute's silence.

Then dozens of multi-coloured balloons were released into the sunny evening sky.

But amid all the sorrow there is anger the driver of the white van has not yet been charged in connection with Gemma's death.

His name is well known in the area but police do not have enough evidence to charge him.

Mrs Ford said: "Someone knows something and I am just telling them this little girl will not be forgotten.

"I really don't know why there is this wall of silence. I will try anything to get justice for Gemma. Her life was taken away too quickly.

"It has surprised me how many lives she touched and it makes me so proud to be her mum."

Mr Robey still has flashbacks of the night Gemma died. He said the family would have the memory of Gemma's death with them for the rest of their lives.


DEAN Robey's Suzuki Vitara was hit by a stolen white Austin Maestro van at the junction of Slade Green Road and Canada Road, Slade Green, after the van failed to stop at the junction.

The driver, a white male, aged 18 to 20 with short dark tidy hair, ran from the scene.

Four youths were arrested but later released without charge.

Forensic tests and identification parades have not yet produced evidence to confirm the identity of the driver, although his name is widely known in the community.

Police are still awaiting the results of further forensic tests to see if there is enough evidence to charge a youth in connection with Gemma's death.

They are also hunting a white girl with a ponytail, driving a red Rover Metro, who is believed to have seen the van driver.

Investigating officer Detective Inspector Mick Morgan said: "We will not give up until we have followed every possible line of inquiry.

"I would again like to appeal to the community for any person who knows who was the driver of the white van that evening to come forward and speak to the police."

Anyone with information should call Bexley CID on 020 8301 1212 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.