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Family tribute to vibrant, fun-loving, beautiful girls

Libby and Maddie North (left to right). A black and white image of two white girls both with long hair.
Libby and Maddie North
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At the sentencing of 40-year-old Thomas Lenthall, the parents’ of 21-year-old Madison and 17-year-old Libby North shared a powerful personal statement in Bristol Crown Court.

With the support of Verity and Jason North, we have chosen to include their statement. It reads:

“Tuesday 25 July was the day before our daughter Maddie’s graduation. She, her sister Libby, and the whole family were so excited and proud. She was graduating as a teacher, achieving her childhood dream.

“Family were invited, the party was arranged, everything felt perfect.

“The evening of the 25th, Maddie and Libby popped out for a Coke, and they never came home.

“It is every parent’s worst nightmare, their lives were taken. Our innocent, precious daughters, at such young ages, were just beginning to live their best lives and fulfil their dreams.

“In a heartbeat, everything changed. They had been killed by the reckless dangerous driving of another.

“We and our family and our daughters’ friends are devastated and still in disbelief of this cruel tragedy and what the new reality is in our lives without them.

“That night, the horror of seeing our daughter’s faces on the location app stationary at the scene of the accident, driving to the scene and pulling up beside the police officer asking if he could help me.

“He tried to divert me [not realising we were family], but I said I needed his help. I told him my daughters were showing that they were along the stretch of road.

“He asked my name, and once he heard it, his face changed only to be told my daughters were involved and it was fatal.

“I remember thinking ‘what did I just hear?’

“How do you comprehend those words? Our world fell apart in that instance as the police drove me home to break this tragic news that has literally broken our hearts. Everything we lived for, our beautiful daughters, was gone.

Two young women, sisters, in a garden wearing dresses. On the left is Libby and on the right is Maddie North. They're both white with long hair.
Libby and Maddie North

“Calling a close family member in the middle of the night for help and assistance, in shock and disbelief. Our world was in pieces.

“Making phone calls to family members close by and overseas, the screams of shock and tears we will never forget. Our girls gone. The most vibrant, fun-loving, beautiful girls… taken.

“The emotional impact this has had on the family is beyond words. We still have no words, we remain in disbelief since that very day.

“Our children, our teenagers, our young women. Gone.

“Ask me how I feel, ‘I feel numb’. Ask Maddie and Libby’s cousins how they feel, they are ‘heartbroken and numb’. The same for aunties and uncles – ‘heartache and pain’. Maddie and Libby’s friends are also heartbroken.

“The sleepless nights, pain and losing our world and the people we were before this tragic night. Going over and over what happened. Being unable to carry out day-to-day tasks, being unable to even think about returning to the jobs we once loved.

“Getting out of bed is painful, having to live this nightmare over and over again every day… our futures have been destroyed.

“[Thomas Lenthall] has robbed us of seeing Maddie as a teacher and Libby as a nursery teacher. They loved their jobs very much.

“[Lenthall] has stolen the chances we would see them marry and see them as mothers – making us proud grandparents which they both wanted very much. Gone.

“Cousins bereft and heartbroken from the closeness they had, the fun, the laughter shared over 21 and 17 years of growing up together. They were both loved so much. All gone.

“As parents, you live and breathe for your children, you work hard to give them your best. Our home was a happy home, always full of music, laughter and mischief. Gone.

“Our home is so painfully quiet now, our family home has changed forever. Our lives ripped to shreds.

“Since the moment we heard the news of our girls, there is a deep piercing pain our hearts. Waking in the middle of the night, feeling guilty we couldn’t protect them both.

“Wishing they would burst through the door and jump on the bed. Hearing their phones constantly beeping, their laughter, their voices and hearing ‘mum and dad’.

“We just want it to be just as it was. We go through a plethora of emotions daily – anger, frustration, sadness, heartache and pain. Some days it is just too hard to bear – hoping you are not missing us as much as we are missing you.

“Never, ever did we think we would have to plan funerals for our girls in our lifetime. How we did that and got through the day, I will never know.

“The tears, sobs, wails, and heartbreak of that day, I can still hear as clear as day today.

“From the dangerous, reckless, irresponsible, stupid actions of another forced us to have this reality, one that will never heal. One we will never get over.

“Our hearts are broken forever. This tragedy has taken the privilege of being Maddie and Libby’s mum and dad away.

“The pain cannot be explained, only felt. All we lived for, gone, as our family and everyone who knew and loved them do our best each day to exist without our beloved girls.

“We now do not know what our future looks like, nor how we move on from what has happened.

“We want justice for our girls and hope that is given fairly and in deep reflection and compassion of what losing our precious girls has done to us and our family.”