Highgate family devastated after daughter dies in car crash

A HEARTBROKEN Highgate family has told of their grief after their teenage daughter was killed in a car crash in the United States earlier this month.

Natasha Newman, 17, of Makepeace Avenue, was killed instantly when the people carrier she was riding in crashed and overturned at 9am in Utah – just 15 months after she was put on a life support machine when she contracted a critical bout of swine flu in Greece.

After recovering from the illness last year Natasha, who was known as Sasha, went to study at the Sunrise Academy in Utah, where her mother Nikki Boughton says she was excelling.

She said: “She was blossoming out there and doing very well. She was bright, articulate, funny and a strong character. She was non-conforming and creative – she was one of a kind. She was as questioning as she was beautiful. She was very, very determined and strong.”

The bravery her daughter showed when recovering from swine flu – both the physical and mental setbacks – was enormous, she says.

She said: “Her immune system and her mental state took quite a bashing and it took a lot to overcome. She was critically ill for quite a while. It’s just totally unbelievable that she could have fought so hard and for her life to be so tragically ended at a time when she was doing so well.

“We loved her so much and can’t imagine how our lives will be without her. The family are devastated and thank everybody for their support and love.”

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Sasha’s passions were cooking and dancing and many of her friends have told her family of how she used to dance all the time and enjoyed teaching her art to others. Her goal was to open a cake shop and patisserie called Sasha’s Cake Shop once she had returned to the UK.

At the end of July last year she fell critically ill with swine flu on the island of Cephalonia and was taken to hospital suffering respiratory failure, pneumonia and lung damage.

She was a former pupil at St Mary’s School in Fitzjohns Avenue and the Academy School in Rosslyn Hill, as well as Prince Charles’ former school Gordonstoun in Scotland where she did her GCSEs.

It is understood that since the accident two Sundays ago, another 17-year-old Sunrise Academy student who was thrown from the Chevrolet vehicle when it overturned, has also died.

Four other students who were travelling in the people carrier were taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Police in Utah this week said they believe that the driver lost control of the vehicle. The investigation into the crash is ongoing but it is thought that just before the accident happened the driver was trying to attract the attention of another motorist on a bend.

Sasha’s father Julian Newman, who owns the company J Newman Textiles, flew out to Utah when the family heard what had happened.

Sasha is survived by her mother, her father, her brother Sammy, 24, and her sister Lauren, 26.

Her funeral is tomorrow at St Mary’s Church in Barnes – the family request any flowers be sent to TH Sanders and Sons Funeral Directors, 447 Upper Richmond Road West, East Sheen, SW14 7PR.