Hunt for hit-run driver who killed Lisa’s grandmother in Mile End 44 years ago
PUBLISHED: 09:11 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:11 24 July 2014
Lisa Mead is desperately trying to find the man who killed her grandmother in London’s East End 10 years before she was even born.
Tomorrow is the 44th anniversary of the tragic hit-and-run incident when 60-year-old widow Kate Webber was fatally injured on a pedestrian crossing in Mile End on her way home on the night of July 25, 1970.
The driver of the white mini-van who knocked her down outside Mile End Underground station at 10.20pm didn’t stop—but drove on along Mile End Road towards Bow. He has never been traced.
Lisa, 33, returned to the crossing from her home in South Wales this week with her mother Cathy Carter, 69, Kate’s daughter, to launch an appeal to try and trace the man responsible.
“Justice has not been served,” Lisa told the East London Advertiser, which first reported the incident on its front-page in 1970.
“The person who caused my grandmother’s death is still out there.
“Two passengers were in the van that night who may have told somebody down the years about what happened that night—we hope they can now come forward.”
Lisa has traced two witnesses through their police statements at the time, both schoolboys of 13 now in their late 50s, one still living in the area.
But her painstaking research has been hampered because vehicle registration records at County Hall in 1970 seem to have been lost since they were transferred to the DVLA when the Greater London Council was abolished in 1986.
“If I find this driver, I would like him to apologise then hand himself in to the police,” Lisa added.
“He shouldn’t have driven on if it was an accident. He’s had to live with the guilt for 44 years.
“My gran didn’t deserve to die—it wasn’t her time.”
Kate Webber had been out for the evening with her daughter Cathy Carter and son-in-law William for a family get-together at a steak house in Stratford.
William wanted to drive her back afterwards to her home near Victoria Park, but Kate insisted on getting the bus instead.
Kate got off the 25 at Mile End and crossed the main road when a white mini van went through the red light and knocked her down.
She died at 8am the next day, July 26, 1970, in the operating theatre at the London Hospital in Whitechapel, despite a nine-hour battle to save her.
Cathy recalled: “We regretted not driving her home that night—I’ve had to live with that for 44 years.
East London Advertiser July 31, 1970:
A MASSIVE hunt for a hit-and-run driver is going on after a 60-year-old widow was killed on Saturday night.
Police are searcvhing local garages for a light-coloured van or car.
They think the driver may have taken it to be repaired or is keeping it hidden until the search dies down.
Kate Webber was killed after she rerturned from a dinner with her married daughter.
Police appealed for wirtnesses to the accident outside Mile End Underground station to come forward.
Mrs Webber was crossing Mile End Road when she was hit by the car.
She was rushed to The London Hspital where doctors fought a six-hour battle to save her life. But she died without regaining consciousness.
“I could finally put my mum to rest if we find who did it and to know justice has been done.
“Otherwise I will go to my grave not knowing what really happened.”
Passers-by shouted at the van to stop when Kate Webber was hit on the crossing.
But one witness that Lisa Mead has traced said the smartly dressed driver did actually stop and unhooked Kate’s coat, which had caught up in his bumper, then drove on.
The witness described him as tall, dark hair, Mexican-type moustache with long sideburns. One of the passengers was a dark-haired girl of about 18 sitting in the back.
Lisa Mead believes the case was “corrupted” with witnesses not allowed to speak at the inquest, having dictated their accounts to officers which she says were not fully included in their statements which were later produced by police investigators.
Now she wants police to reopen the case so the family can draw a line under the tragic chapter of the grandmother she never knew.