Search

Finsbury taxi driver crushed by building collapse was working to buy husband present

16:59 01 September 2014

Julie Sillitoe

Julie Sillitoe

Archant

A taxi driver crushed to death by falling masonry only went out to work in “horrendous” weather to pay for her beloved husband’s birthday present.

Julie Sillitoe was just 49 when she died from “devastating” injuries on Valentine’s Day after a building collapsed on her car while she was driving two lovebirds home from a romantic meal.

The weather that night was so terrible her husband, Steve Sillitoe, said she should stay in at their home in Kestrel House, Pickard Street, Finsbury.

Speaking through tears at St Pancras Coroners Court today, he said: “It was very windy outside. I said why don’t you take the night off?

“She said ‘I have got to go to work to buy your birthday present’.”

Mr Sillitoe described his wife, who was looking forward to the birth of a new grandson before she died, as “fun-loving” and “very hard-working”. He added: “I can only speak for myself, but Julie was everything to me.

“Every single day I miss her very much.”

It is thought Ms Sillitoe was killed instantly, but Luke Fitton and his partner, who were passengers after enjoying a Valentine’s meal at Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen, survived.

He said: “We were discussing how horrendous the weather was that evening.

“We’d stopped at traffic lights and it was particularly quiet.

“Quite instantly I felt a huge piece of concrete upon me.

“It just seemed to go from absolutely silent and normality to the complete opposite.

“I didn’t understand what was going on but I was conscious I was screaming and screaming because the pain was so unbelievable.”

Mr Fitton was holding his girlfriend’s hand, but couldn’t tell if she was ok.

He said: “I eventually got some response from her.

“It felt like it [the concrete] was still going down, crushing, crushing, crushing.

“I lost control to be honest.”

Mr Fitton, who has only just stopped using crutches as he recovers form the incident, said that night will stay with him for a long time.

“This has changed our lives so much,” he said. “We appreciate that we were lucky. It just makes us reflect on how saddened we are that all three of us were not able to come away from this whole experience and we carry it with us every day.

He added: “How something like this could happen in 2014?

“We are living in one of the most dominant cities in the world, you don’t expect to worry about travelling home and buildings falling from the sky.

“That was the last of a few days of bad wind. If you were concerned with your building it should be checked and maintained.”

“It’s very difficult to accept the response that it’s an act of god.”

A tearful Mr Sillitoe then asked Mr Fitton about his wife’s last moments.

He said: “I know it’s not something you would want to reflect on, but you’re the only person who saw Julie

“Do you think it would have been instant?

Mr Fitton replied: “It came from nowhere. The most instant thing in my entire life.

“It’s difficult to talk about It.

“It [the masonry] stopped within centimetres of my face and was just so overwhelming. It couldn’t have been anything other than that.”

The inquest continues.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 17:10
Timid: Rabbit experts warn the animals are easily stressed (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Animal lovers do not see the bunny side of plans for a pop-up “rabbit cafe” in Islington.

Yesterday, 15:38
Rev Simon Harvey found this intruder in his house on Wednesday afternoon

Grieving vicar Simon Harvey today told how he photographed a suspected burglar in his Upper Street home, moments before discovering his dead wife’s jewellery had been stolen.

Yesterday, 11:42
Murat Mehmet runs Electrical Embassy Supplies with his father, who imports olive oil from Cyprus to his shop on Compton Street

For Murat Mehmet and his business partner father, selling olive oil from an electrical shop is as natural as the family’s organic production farm in Cyprus. Georgie Conway reports.

Yesterday, 09:04
Richard at the former care home building in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury, where he was abused as a child. Picture: Ken Mears

Like dozens of other children in 20th-Century Islington care homes, Richard was a victim of abuse. A new website is supporting these survivors. This week, he bravely returned to the building of his former care home in Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury. He told James Morris there could be hundreds more victims who have yet to come to terms with childhood trauma.

Wed, 17:08
A police car outside City and Islington College on Monday. Picture: Ken Mears

Three men have been bailed until late July after two 18-year-olds were stabbed in Owen’s Field on Monday afternoon.

Wed, 16:58
Crowds at the Whitecross Street Party two years ago. The population of Islington is set to rocket by 17 per cent in the next decade (Picture: Dieter Parry)

Islington’s population is set to soar by 37,000 over the next decade, according to government stats released today.

Wed, 16:00
Rocketspace's San Francisco offices

With more and more tech start-ups emerging from Old Street every day, the market for an all-in-one hub has never been more evident.

Wed, 14:17
Speakers at the launch of an exhibition celebrating half a century of adventure play in Islington

More than 150 people attended the launch of an exhibition telling the story of the adventure playground in Islington last week at the Islington Museum.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe