Two young girls orphaned after parents killed in head-on crash

4 September 2020, 19:36 | Updated: 4 September 2020, 19:40

Robert Bateman and his wife Paula, pictured with Lexi (top-left) and Elizabeth (bottom-left)
Robert Bateman and his wife Paula, pictured with Lexi (top-left) and Elizabeth (bottom-left). Picture: Cambridgeshire Police
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Two sisters, one aged 18 months and the other aged 10, have been left orphaned after their "utterly devoted" parents were killed in a head-on car collision.

Their father Robert Bateman, 36, and the two girls' mother Paula, 35, died after their Ford Focus collided with an Iveco Daily van on the A142 between Chatteris and Mepal in Cambridgeshire.

Lexi, 10, and 18-month-old Elizabeth were also in the vehicle when it crashed shortly after 8pm on Thursday, with the latter having minor injuries and her older sister suffering serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The pair have since been discharged from hospital.

Cambridgeshire Police said the van driver, a 32-year-old man from Lincoln, came away with minor injuries and remains in custody.

He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of causing death by dangerous driving, and driving while unfit through drink or drugs.

In a tribute issued through police, the family of Mr and Mrs Bateman, from Manea in Cambridgeshire, described them as "utterly devoted parents".

"We are utterly devastated by this news," they said.

"Bob and Paula were much-loved friends to many and will be missed by everyone who knew them.

"They were also utterly devoted parents.

"Bob was a much-loved son and father, while Paula was a much-loved daughter, sister and mother."

Mr Bateman was driving the Ford Focus and his wife Paula was in a rear passenger seat.

Anyone who saw the collision or the vehicles in the lead up to it, or has dashcam footage, is asked to call police on 101.