Police door knock delivers tragic news

By Abby Gillies

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

The wife of a Temuka cyclist who died in an Easter road accident was waiting for her husband to come home for dinner when instead a police officer knocked at the door.

Carmela Kirkcaldie had made dinner and was expecting her husband Stephen home from his job at Fonterra in Timaru on Thursday night, but he never arrived.

On his cycle to Temuka from work, the 55-year-old father of three collided with a car north of Timaru and was killed at 6pm.

The crash happened only two hours into the official Easter holiday period.

An officer and a friend arrived at the door to tell Mr Kirkcaldie's wife of almost 18 years the tragic news, said family friend Tania Farrer.

"It's a very big shock. The family are holding up as well as can be expected but it's hard," said Ms Farrer.

Mr Kirkcaldie, a family-man, who was passionate about taekwondo and hunting, was "very much loved", she said.

Mrs Kirkcaldie was too upset to speak about the incident.

The couple had been looking forward to celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary next week, "that's why it's so tragic", said Ms Farrer.

"He was a very good man.

In a second fatal Easter crash, at 2am on Saturday, Anthony King, 53, from Paraparaumu Beach, was killed when the Suzuki vehicle he was a passenger in collided with a BMW on State Highway 5 at Wairakei, north of Taupo.

The same night Hannah Eaton, 25, was killed when her BMW hit an oncoming Ford Territory SUV at Puriri, south of Thames.

Her husband, ex Hurricane Chris Eaton, has expressed his grief over losing his wife.

The Hawkes Bay Magpies rugby player posted a tribute on Twitter today, saying their daughter Layla was helping get him through.

"Thanks for the support. I love my wife so much it hurts. My angel Layla is my world and is the last thing holding me together. Love 2 all," Eaton tweeted today.

The Ford ended up in a paddock, with the driver suffering minor injuries and the man's wife, who was a passenger, was seriously hurt.

Several rugby players and Twitter users offered messages of support to Eaton and his daughter.

The Magpies and former team mate Victor Vito were among those to say their thoughts were with the pair.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to you and Layla brother," tweeted All Black and former Hurricane Piri Weepu. "Stay strong my mate. Words can never bring her back, but we here 4 you."

Eaton played 27 matches for the Hurricanes in 2011-12, and joined the Magpies in 2007.

Mrs Eaton's death brings the Easter road toll to three.

The official holiday road toll period ends at 6am tomorrow.

- APNZ

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