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Mystery over girl's fatal last journey

PUBLISHED: 09:50 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:59 05 July 2010

As tributes flooded in last night for a "sporty, popular" teenager fatally injured in a crash her mother was still grappling with the mystery surrounding her final journey.

As tributes flooded in last night for a “sporty, popular” teenager fatally injured in a crash her mother was still grappling with the mystery surrounding her final journey.

At the very time Emily Knipe, 15, was a passenger in a Vauxhall Corsa van that struck a tree after leaving the Beccles Road at Fritton, near Yarmouth her mother Susan believed she was doing her paper round in her home village of Hopton.

Police are still trying to piece together the circumstances in which Emily and a 14-year-old girl friend who also had a paper round in the village were being driven towards Belton by a 19-year-old male friend, who did mobile paper deliveries for the same shop, McColls.

Acle road police yesterday renewed their appeal for witnesses to the crash, which happened at about 8.30am on Sunday close to the entrance to Cherry Lane Garden Centre. One theory being explored is that the icy road surface may have been a factor in the accident.

While Emily died at Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital shortly after the collision, the driver was yesterday still fighting for his life in hospital. The 14-year-old suffered only minor injuries.

Emily's mother, who lives in Turin Way, Hopton, said the many warm tributes flooding in had been a comfort to her, her son Michael, 20, and her partner Terry Wink.

She revealed a friend had even set up an online condolences book on the Gonetoosoon.org website with nearly 200 people visiting it by lunchtime yesterday.

On it, friends and teachers at Gorleston's Oriel Specialist Maths and Computing College where she was a student in her GCSE year, recall the “joy and laughter you brought to everyone you knew” and “your sense of humour”. Others recall how she was the “funniest girl ever” and a “great kid the way you looked after and helped others”.

Mrs Knipe, who works with her partner at a holiday park in nearby Corton, said Emily was very sporty and her ultimate dream would have been to compete at the Olympics.

When they had lived in Crawley, West Sussex, she had played rugby at junior county level. Since arriving in Norfolk three years ago, she had switched her attention to football and played for Bohemians in Gorleston.

As well as her paper round, she had worked at the BWell gym in Gorleston and becoming a gym instructor had been one of her career ambitions along with the possibility of joining the Army.

Mrs Knipe, who has previously gone through the trauma of losing a six-year-old son Daniel to a brain abscess, said: “Everyone knew Emily Knipe. She was that type of person and had lots of friends.”

Her partner described her as “lively, outgoing, brave and independent - a very thoughtful girl who thought a lot about other people”.

Naomi Palmer, deputy headteacher at Oriel, said: “Emily was much-loved by both by staff and students due to her determination to succeed and her positive, cheery demeanour. She was a prefect at the school and had joined the Student Council to help to support her fellow classmates. It is a tragedy that such a young, vibrant, hopeful young lady is no longer with us.

“We cannot express how devastated the staff and students are to receive such dreadful news and our thoughts are with Emily's family and friends at this traumatic time. We will, of course, be doing everything we can to support those affected by her death.”

McColls general manager Nick Lloyd said: “Our thoughts are concerned with Emily's family and the people she worked with. She was an extremely well-liked person and very reliable and will be greatly missed by the whole team.”

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