Grief for mother of tragic death Kayla in Limehouse as memorial flowers are shunted
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:15 11 April 2019
The heartbroken mother of a woman killed when a pallet of bricks being hoisted on a building site crashed down onto the pavement has had the first anniversary of the tragedy in Limehouse marred by further grief.
Alaina Selby bears the butterfly motif tattooed on her arm that her jewellery-designer daughter Kayla created before she died, as her lifelong memorial.
But her daily journey past the Burdett Road construction site to drop Kayla’s five-year-old son Kieran off at his school opposite has been embittered by someone now living in the new housing complex repeatedly shifting her tribute of flowers away from the accident spot.
“The first anniversary was the day after Kayla’s 29th birthday,” Alaina tells today’s East London Advertiser.
“We wanted to mark the spot with flowers so that people don’t forget, because it’s all been cleaned up and they carried on building. I want people to remember that somebody died building those flats.”
But the floral tribute to her daughter kept being shunted 15 yards away by a householder who she later confronted.
“I can’t understand how somebody can be that unfeeling,” Alaina said. “The reaction when I asked them to stop was that people taking photographs of the flowers maybe accidentally catch the flat in the background—which seems ‘more important’ than what happened to Kayla, which shouldn’t have happened to anyone’s daughter.”
Alaina’s partner Matthew Boor, ironically a bricklayer by trade, who also has Kayla’s butterfly motif tattooed on his arm, insists the flowers were placed on a safety barrier on the public highway.
He said: “I’m deeply offended. The only thing left to remind us of the accident is the smashed pavement which still hasn’t been replaced.”
Kayla had dropped Kieran off at school at 9.40am on March 28 last year when tragedy struck. Her mum had just sent her a text message at that moment—but it didn’t get through. She keeps the message on her own phone to this day, to remind her of the moment when police knocked on the door of her home in Bromley-by-Bow, where Kayla also lived with her son, to tell her about the accident.
Kayla was on life support at the Royal London Hospital for three days. The second day was her birthday, when doctors asked the couple if they could turn off her life support.
But that was also younger sister Rosie’s birthday.
“I pleaded with them not to cut the life support on that day,” Alaina recalled. “It was Rosie’s birthday and that wouldn’t be fair on her.”
The family got it postponed 24 hours, but even then it fell on grandmother Kathleen Selby’s birthday.
Kayla had her picture in the Advertiser’s ‘bonniest baby’ contest in 1992, aged three, and was later shortlisted in the ‘Miss Pears’ competition “because she was so cute, like a dolly—a proper Irish rose”.
She went to St Paul’s & St Luke’s Primary where her son goes today, then got her A-levels including Art at George Green’s Secondary on the Isle of Dogs where her mum later worked as a teaching assistant.
Kayla started an online business designing jewellery when she created the butterfly motif that all the family had tattooed after she died—as her memorial “which we’ll carry for ever”.