Buxton crash: Lily Van de Putte dad’s touching tribute months after daughter died in ute smash


The heartbroken father of one of the five teenagers who died in an alleged ute smash has turned his own vehicles into touching mobile shrines to his tragic daughter.

Lily Van de Putte, 14, died when a Nissan Navara she was in allegedly ploughed into trees on East Parade in Buxton, south-west of Sydney, just before 8pm on September 6.

She was allegedly killed alongside her Picton High School mates Antonio Desisto, Tyrese Bechard, Summer Williams and Gabby McLennan – all aged 14 to 16.

John Van de Putte (left) has turned his vehicles into mobile shrines to his daughter Lily (right) who died with four other teenagers in a horrific crash in September

Lily's heartbroken father John Van de Putte has revealed a set of custom-made stickers to honour his daughter

He also has a personalised registration plate bearing his daughter's name and year of birth

Lily’s heartbroken father John Van de Putte has revealed a set of custom-made stickers (left) to honour his daughter, and a registration number plate bearing her name and year of birth (right)

The driver and sole survivor, Tyrell Edwards, 18, has since been charged with five counts of dangerous driving occasioning death – driving in a manner dangerous and will face trial later this year.

Now Lily’s heartbroken father John has revealed a set of custom-made stickers to honour his daughter, and a registration number plate bearing her name and year of birth.

The stickers feature angel wings in rainbow colours around an image of a purple lily above her name Lily Van de Putte, 2008-2022.

Above the wings is the heartrending message: ‘Forever in my heart’. 

The stickers have been put in the back window of the wheelchair-bound father’s family car and on the back of his Mercedes Sprinter van which has the rego 08-LILY.

Mr Van de Putte – who suffers from multiple sclerosis – showcased the stickers in a Facebook post and added: ‘Great Christmas presents. 

‘Thank you everyone for your support x.’

Gabriella McLennan is pictured left with her best friend, Lily Van de Putte. They died together in the crash

Gabriella McLennan is pictured left with her best friend, Lily Van de Putte. They died together in the crash

John Van de Putte also revealed a Christmas tree bauble inscribed in glitter with the name of Lily and her best friend Gabby

Lily Van de Putte pictured helping decorate the family Christmas tree in 2019

John Van de Putte also revealed a Christmas tree bauble (left) inscribed in glitter with the name of Lily (pictured right decorating the family Christmas treet in 2019) and her best friend Gabby

John Van de Putte later posted a picture of his family with Lily and Gabby's bauble in prime position as the star at the top of their Christmas tree

John Van de Putte later posted a picture of his family with Lily and Gabby’s bauble in prime position as the star at the top of their Christmas tree

He also revealed a Christmas tree bauble inscribed in glitter with the name of Lily and her best friend Gabby who died alongside her in the crash. 

He later posted a picture of his family with the bauble in prime position as the star at the top of their Christmas tree. 

The posts sparked an outpouring of grief and sympathy from friends and relatives still devastated by the tragedy.

The tribute was revealed two months after the families of the teenagers killed in the crash came together for an emotional gathering.

Family and friends of the five who died in the horror smash met up for a solemn barbecue in quiet parkland after being picked up by limousine by the organisers.

One parent called the gathering a ‘beautiful day…enjoyed by all’. 

‘We would like to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts,’ they said.

‘There were games for the children, amazing food, gift packs and all families were picked up with the free limousine service which put so many smiles on everyone’s face.’

Tyrell Edwards was allegedly behind the wheel when his Nissan ute smashed into a tree in Buxton

Tyrell Edwards was allegedly behind the wheel when his Nissan ute smashed into a tree in Buxton

Pictured: Summer Williams, who died in a car crash

Pictured: Antonio Desisto, 16, who died alongside four of his friends in a car accident

Antonio Desisto  (pictured right) and Summer Williams (left) also died in the incident on September 6

Tyrese Bechard (pictured) died in the car accident when a Nissan ute slammed into two trees on East Parade in Buxton

Tyrese Bechard (pictured) died in the car accident when a Nissan ute slammed into two trees on East Parade in Buxton 

Mr Van de Putte previously said just days after his daughter’s funeral that he wanted to meet the parents of the driver accused of killing his child and her friends in the crash.

‘I just want to give them a hug,’ Mr Van de Putte said at the time.

‘No hard feelings, no anger…I need to do it for closure.’

Edwards was bailed in October under strict conditions he lives with his parents and doesn’t contact anyone under 18 unless accompanied by his mother.

Conditions imposed on Edwards while on bail include that he abide by a curfew, he must not leave his parents’ home unless in the company of his mother, he must not drink alcohol and does not get behind the wheel of any vehicle. 

John van de Putte said he wants to meet with the parents of Tyrell Edward (pictured), who was the driver and sole survivor of the crash, to give them a hug

John van de Putte said he wants to meet with the parents of Tyrell Edward (pictured), who was the driver and sole survivor of the crash, to give them a hug

Tyrell  Edwards will be released on bail to live with his parents (above) and  is effectively under house arrest, unable to leave without the company of his mother Renee

Tyrell  Edwards will be released on bail to live with his parents (above) and  is effectively under house arrest, unable to leave without the company of his mother Renee

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