Tragic cyclist’s family tell how his death has destroyed their lives

Cyclist Les Turnbull, who was killed by a bus in January.
Cyclist Les Turnbull, who was killed by a bus in January.
2
Have your say

The family of tragic cyclist Les Turnbull have told how they came across the horrific aftermath of the crash in which he died.

His partner and his daughter gave victim statements, which were read out in court, about how they decided to drive his route to work, after he failed to turn up to his job as a manager at AWC glassware firm, in Swan Industrial Estate, Washington, on January 15.

Arriving at the scene in Barmston Way, they were met with police tape and flashing lights.

“Myself and my daughter discovered he hadn’t attended for work,” his partner Ann Leonard said.

“We ran towards the emergency vehicles and police tape. They couldn’t say for certain who it was, but that it was a fatality.”

Daughter Jodie Leonard, 27, said: “I had rang my mum and she said he was on his bike. We both panicked.

“I dropped my son off at nursery then headed back to dad’s factory. They hadn’t heard from him. I cried, I knew something was wrong, I decided to drive his route to work.

“A friend told me it was an accident at the back of his house where we were heading.

“I saw police cars and ambulances and yellow tape. I was shouting and crying hysterically.

“We both ran over and under the tape. We were told to sit in the police car. It was the worst feeling ever. He was still under the bus.

“All they told us was there had been a fatality. I remember my mum crying so bad. My whole world has been crushed.”

His partner Ann Leonard, 51, and Les had daughter Jodie when they were first together and rekindled their relationship three years ago.

The popular SAFC fan was also dad to Martin, 22, and stepdad to James, Nicole and Michael.

He was also a son to Norma Carr, 73, a much-loved brother and a grandfather to Gracie, nine, Harley, five, Logan, four, Kylin, three, Cameron, two, and Imogen, eight months.

Ann, who had got back together with Mr Turnbull after the pair split in the early 90s, described the impact his death has had on the family, adding: “This has devastatingly destroyed us.”

“Les always told me I was his first love and he would get me back one day,” she said. “We moved back in together and we were so happy. It was all Les ever wanted for me to be Mrs Leslie Turnbull.”

On the morning of the crash she said the pair enjoyed their usual routine before Mr Turnbull left for work.

“He gave me a cuddle and said ‘see you tonight love’. The rest of that day was horrendous. I remember the house was full of grown men, who couldn’t hold back the tears.

“Les’s mates loved the bones of him and weren’t afraid to show it. Breaking the news to our kids was heartbreaking.

“He was my soulmate, my lover and my best friend. He was my everything, totally. I miss him every second of every day. I wake up on a morning and he’s not there. He’s not in my bed.

“I’ve lost my future with Les. Our kids have lost their dad and stepdad. Our grandkids have lost their grandad. His mum has lost a son and his brothers and sisters have lost a brother.

“Whatever punishment you will get is never enough in my mind. You have your future, but where is mine?”

Jodie said Mr Turnbull had been “the best dad I could ever have hoped for”.

“When my mum and dad got back together, this was something my dad wanted so much,” she said. “We loved family time. Everything was so perfect.

“January 15 was the worst day of my life. Eight weeks after dad died I found out I was expecting a baby.

“It was heart-breaking that I couldn’t break the news to my dad. A few days later I miscarried, was it the stress or was it just meant to be?”

She added that Mr Turnbull had been the perfect grandad to her young son, Logan.

“It breaks my heart that Logan, at three years old has lost his best friend,” Jodie said.

“Logan now always looks for the brightest star in the sky – his grandad.”