A father has killed his baby daughter by driving into the path of a lorry on Father’s Day – after he broke up with her mother.
Company director Ashley Henry, 35, and little Oria, who turned two in April, died on their way home from a weekend at the seaside.
The tragedy was initially treated as a straightforward collision.
But Lincolnshire Police said on Tuesday afternoon that after ‘careful consideration’, detectives had opened an investigation into the child’s death on Sunday.
The force is not looking for anyone else involved in the double death, and said the lorry driver was not a suspect.
The collision is understood to have been caught on dash cam.
Oria’s mother Rachel Leader, who works in global procurement for soft drinks goliath PepsiCo, appeared in Channel 4’s dating show spin-off First Dates Hotel in 2020.
Rachel, Uriah and Ashley Henry were all pictured together before the tragedy unfolded this week
Little Oria’s death is now being ruled a homicide after being killed in a car accident a few days ago
The 32-year-old was today being comforted by his parents at their executive home in the Leicestershire village of Broughton Astley. Oriya was his only child.
Miss Leader’s mother, Judith, 65, said the family was too upset to comment.
But on Facebook, Miss Leader reposted a police update that the investigation was now a murder investigation, along with the comment ‘my baby’ and crying and heartbroken emojis.
On Instagram, she wrote alongside a photo of her smiling daughter: ‘(The) situation is being treated as a murder/suicide.
‘My poor child. An evil force has taken you from me. A sick man, a man I trusted with your life only to be taken away in this horrible way by him.
Mother Rachel and Uriah Henry were photographed together before the young girl was killed by her father
‘Oriya, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.
‘My suffering will be purposeful, I promise you. I love you sweetheart. See you in heaven, girl.’
A friend replied: ‘Horrible, how could someone do this to an innocent child? It’s constantly on my mind Rachel, can’t stop thinking about you.’
Before police announced they were treating Oria’s death as murder, Miss Leader told friends on the platform that the father and daughter had died in a car crash ‘on their way back from Skegness’.
A source confirmed that Ms Leader and Mr Henry – the manager of a firm selling medicinal mushrooms, according to Companies House – had separated, but could not confirm when.
His father Paul Henry wrote on Facebook on Tuesday under a photo of his son and granddaughter: ‘Can’t believe my son lost his granddaughter he will never be the same.’
The Henry family, from Leicester, did not wish to comment today.
A villager in Unwick also said he heard the couple were separated, adding: ‘The lorry went into a dyke to avoid the car, which was heading straight for the lorry on the side of the road.’
He said the lorry was fully loaded with chilled chicken from a local processing plant. Lincolnshire Police appealed for witnesses to the collision to come forward, adding: ‘We have launched a homicide investigation following a fatal collision between a lorry and a car in Anwick.
‘Driver Ashley Henry, 35, and passenger Uriah Henry, 2, were traveling along Main Road in a blue Nissan Qashqai from Leicester when the incident happened at 2.45pm on Sunday 18 June.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene. ‘Our investigation into the incident continues but after careful consideration we can confirm that we have opened an investigation into the death of two-year-old Oriya.
‘We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident but cannot provide further details at this time.
‘Our thoughts go out to the families of those who lost their lives in this conflict and specialist officers are supporting them at this difficult time.’
Last night a friend said he believed Miss Leader and Mr Henry had separated ‘some time ago’
The friend said: ‘Rachel is such a lovely, warm person.
‘I don’t know how they got together but it seemed like a bit of a whirlwind. They haven’t been together for a while, probably even before this time last year.
‘No one understands what prompted Ashley to do this.’
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