The family of a great-grandmother hit who died after being hit by a police motorcycle escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh have paid tributes to the ‘kind and joyful spirit’ who was ‘taken before her time’.
Helen Holland, 81, from Birchanger, Essex, died two weeks after a police motorbike collided into her at around 3.21pm at the junction of Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in Earl’s Court, in west London, on May 10.
Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began an independent probe after investigators attended the scene alongside emergency services, when the woman was taken to hospital, where she remained in critical condition for two weeks.
Ms Holland’s family have now paid tributes to the grandmother-of-ten who they described as ‘sprightly for her age’ and a ‘beautiful, loving, kind and caring lady’.
Her son Martin Holland said his mother had died after ‘suffering multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries’ while using the ‘safe route’ by crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing next to traffic lights.
Helen Holland (pictured), 81, from Essex, who was hit by a police motorcycle escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh has died after fighting for her life for two weeks
The crash occurred on a busy junction of Cromwell Road and Nevern Road on the A4 in Earl’s Court, west London, a just a few minutes’ drive from Kensington Palace
Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London on May 9 as part of the Coronation celebrations
Speaking at the time of her death, Ms Holland’s family told the BBC: ‘She fought for her life for nearly two weeks… but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today.’
Ms Holland’s grandson, Joe Strutter Holland, wrote on Facebook about the death of his grandmother: ‘Rest in peace Nanny (Helen) Holland. One of the kindest and most joyful souls you’ll ever of had the pleasure of meeting. Taken before her time.’
He added that he was grateful his son and Ms Holland got to meet, continuing: ‘I’ll ensure he knows who you are, till we meet again’.
After the accident, her family previously said the great-grandmother was in a coma and police confirmed that on May 19 that she remained in critical condition.
An eyewitness said Ms Holland was ‘thrown 40 feet across the road’ after being struck by a motorbike.
Family members described Ms Holland, who was in London visiting her sister at the time of the crash, as a ‘beautiful, loving, kind and caring lady who would always put anyone before herself’, in a statement shared with Sky News after the crash.
Ms Holland’s family were said at the time to be ‘deeply saddened and shocked’ by the news she had been so seriously injured in the collision.
They stated at the time: ‘Helen may be 81 years old but she is sprightly for her age and nothing stopped her living life to the full, spending precious time with her family, muddy walks with the dogs and lunches with friends is what she enjoyed most.’
Ms Holland, a mother-of-four, grandmother-of-ten and great-grandmother of seven, was also described as a ‘well-respected and popular’ member of the community.
Her family added: ‘The outpour of love and support the family have received from those that know her is hugely appreciated.
‘We are all praying for a miracle and ask that you keep her in your thoughts and prayers too.’
Buckingham Palace released a statement on May 11 saying the Duchess of Edinburgh was ‘grateful for the swift response of emergency services and will keep abreast of developments’.
They added that the Duchess’s ‘heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family’ and said that further comments would not be appropriate while the investigation is ongoing.
Locals claimed that black screens placed around a square brick electricity unit (pictured) close to the crossing, as part of attempts to ‘decorate’ the area for the Coronation, meant pedestrians were unable to see oncoming traffic
Ms Holland was ‘flung 40ft’ by the officer’s motorbike, which was escorting Sophie through West London on May 10
Road closures were in place in West Cromwell Road near Earl’s Court in West London. One of the screens used to ‘decorate’ the area can be seen here in the road as well as a SEG (Special Escort Group) police bike
Eyewitness Martin Hennessy, 62, claimed that black screens placed around a square brick electricity unit close to the crossing, as part of attempts to ‘decorate’ the area for the Coronation, meant pedestrians were unable to see oncoming traffic.
He told MailOnline after the accident: ‘This was an accident waiting to happen. The screens had been put up for the coronation, but it meant that you had to step out a bit into the road to see any traffic.
‘I was there soon after it happened and it was carnage. The poor lady was flung about 40ft along the road and paramedics were attending to her.
‘She stepped out a bit to peer around the screens and was hit.’
He added: ‘There have been a lot of near misses there recently because of those screens but getting across that road is dangerous at the best of times because it’s so busy.’
Police said the investigation into the crash is ongoing.