A man whose life was shattered when his wife of just nine months died in a road accident has spoken of his shock and anger that her death was caused by vandals.
Joanna Smith died in a collision on the A45 near Earls Barton on Tuesday, April 10, this year.
Following extensive investigations which revealed that a tyre on Mrs Smith’s car had been deliberately damaged, police are now treating the case as manslaughter.
Her husband John, who was working as a sports reporter on the Northants Telegraph at the time of the accident, said: “The people responsible for this have devastated my life and the lives of Joanna’s family, friends and work colleagues.
“My reaction is disbelief. Why did it have to be Joanna? The tyres of several cars were damaged. Why did it have to be Joanna that died?
“I suppose there are apologists out there who will say that this kind of thing is just the way society is now, but it isn’t. Why would people do this?”
Mr Smith met Joanna, who worked as a pharmacy manager in Irchester, in 2005. They were married in July last year and lived in Northampton.
He said: “All I can hope for is that someone with a conscience will come forward, for Joanna’s sake and for her parents and her sister in Poland. Our lives have been shattered and now we are going through the process of rebuilding. It’s been hard but I’ve had a lot of support.”
Mr Smith, who has now moved to Loughborough, added: “Joanna touched so many people’s lives. At the pharmacy where she worked two books of condolence were filled by colleagues and customers.
“We have all been through so much, without this.”
It is believed that the tyre on Mrs Smith’s car had only partially deflated and she did not realise it was punctured when she started her journey to work on the day of the fatal accident.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Kinchin, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit’s major crime team, said: “After being informed by the scientists that Joanna’s tyre had been deliberately damaged, coupled with the other three incidents in the area where Joanna lived, we contacted the Crown Prosecution Service for advice about how the case should proceed.
“We are now investigating the collision as manslaughter. We believe someone deliberately damaged the tyre on Joanna’s car which resulted in her death.”