Two young sisters died after a car driven by their father’s new partner veered off a road during a trip to the cinema.
Jessica Portor, seven, and Tamzin, ten, were visiting their father Allan over the Christmas break when the Ford Focus crashed into a ditch before rolling into a wooden gate.
Both girls suffered severe head injuries and were pronounced dead at hospital.
Police are investigating how the car lost control in light rain on the 60mph road at Walsoken in Norfolk on the border with Cambridgeshire.
There is no evidence that it was speeding or that another car was involved in the tragedy near Wisbech on Thursday evening. Mr Portor, 38, his son Liam, 12, and 43-year-old partner Marie Easter all escaped with minor injuries and were kept in hospital overnight.
Mr Portor is understood to have recently moved into Miss Easter’s home in Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn, Norfolk.
A man who answered her door yesterday said: ‘The police have told them not to speak to anybody, I am afraid.
‘My sister is in a hell of a state. This time yesterday those poor girls were running about and looking forward to going to the cinema in Peterborough.
‘Marie and Allan are out of hospital and they are very sore. The little boy is fine. You can just imagine how they are.’
Jessica and Tamzin lived with their mother Lorraine Mason, 31, in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, and are believed to have acted as bridesmaids at her wedding to husband Daniel earlier this year.
Mrs Mason, who split from Mr Portor around seven years ago, was too upset to talk about the loss last night at her semi-detached home.
A friend, who asked not to be named, said: ‘This is just an awful tragedy. She was devoted to her girls and is absolutely devastated.’
A sign had been hung outside the Riverside Pub where Mrs Mason works yesterday. It said: ‘We are sorry but due to tragic circumstances there will be no meals today.’
A colleague said: ‘They are a lovely family. This is a really difficult and upsetting time for them.’
Five ambulances raced to the crash scene on the A47 shortly before 7pm on Thursday and the road remained closed in both directions for almost four hours.
Paramedics fought to save the sisters but they were declared dead at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn..
Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of road policing in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: ‘Fatal collisions are tragic in any circumstances but given the fact that two young lives have been lost at this time of year seems to make it that much worse
‘Specially trained family liaison officers are supporting the bereaved relatives and collision investigation officers are piecing together the events that led to the crash.
‘The circumstances are still unclear at this stage and I would ask anyone who thinks they might have information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward.’
An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesman said: ‘Crews worked very hard in very difficult circumstances but despite sterling efforts they were sadly unable to save the two children.’
The crash happened less than 40 miles from another double fatal accident on Christmas Eve on the A47 at Dereham, Norfolk.
A couple in their 70s, who have not been named, were killed when their car collided with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.
Brothers Adnan Habib, ten, and Arsalaan, four, were killed in a Christmas Day tragedy when the car they were in crashed on the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent. Their aunt, Bushra Tazarib, 32, also died.
The family, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, were on their way to a wedding in Bolton.