Published: 00:01, 12 October 2018
| Updated: 11:02, 15 October 2018
The parents of a loving mum who died the day after her teenage daughter was killed in a car crash have spoken of the tragedy for the first time.
Natalie Hood, 46, was found dead in her flat in Temple Ewell, near Dover, by her mother Carol on Saturday, September 15.
Her daughter Casey, 18, died in a crash in Womenswold, on the outskirts of Canterbury, the day before.
Just hours before she was found, Natalie posted on Facebook: “I just want my little girl back.”
Carol, 68, and her husband Ray, 69, say that although Natalie was “in so much pain” after learning of Casey’s death, they believe she did not mean to take her own life.
Natalie, who grew up in Dover but moved to Spring Lane, Canterbury, when her twin daughters, Casey and Kellis, were aged three, was given the devastating news while in hospital in Epsom following a hip operation.
The family had hoped the operation would be a turning point for the mum-of-two, who had struggled with a heroin addiction for years and had finished a six-month period in rehab in March.
Bur Carol believes that in her grief, Natalie, who had once worked as a hairdresser in Elms Vale, turned to drugs once again to stifle the pain.
She had pleaded with her daughter to let her stay the night with her, but Natalie asked her to come the next morning instead.
Paying tribute to his daughter, Ray said: “She would give her last penny to anybody. She was really caring towards people.
“When the girls were growing up, she used to do all their homework with them.
"She was really creative and she would play games with them. She was a really, really good mum.
“She was devastated [about Casey], as we all are.”
The Hood family also lost Natalie’s younger sister Carla to a drug overdose in 2006, which her parents say she never got over.
The family have also spoken for the first time about what happened the night of the fatal crash.
Kellis had been with Casey just hours before at the Cricketer’s pub in Dover with a group of friends, including Lucy Leadbeater, who was driving the car when it crashed and was also killed.
Casey, who worked at Laureston House care home but had the next day off, was persuaded to carry on to Canterbury’s Cuban Bar for a night out.
But Kellis, an apprentice hairdresser, had work the next day and after phoning her grandmother, decided to go home.
“I was so close to going out that night,” she said.
“If I had gone, I would have been in that front seat, because I knew Lucy.
“It’s not even sunk in yet. I can’t believe Casey’s gone.”
Ray continued: “Casey was a really cheerful person. She was always entertaining the old people while she was doing her job and they loved her to bits.
“She would work any hours they gave her. She was a real grafter.”
Carol said: “She was so popular and you would never be bored around her.
“She would call me from Ibiza and say ‘I’ve met a guy, talk to him’, and you would hear her telling them to talk to her granny.”
The family say they have been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support from friends and the wider community in the weeks since the double tragedy.
Dozens of tributes were left at the roadside after the fatal crash.
“People have been amazing, and totally out of this world,” Ray said.
“People have been doing collections, there have been raffles and fundraising runs.
“They talk about Dover like it’s not a good town, but when a tragedy like this happens, it’s like they all rallied around.”
Hundreds of family and friends packed Barham Crematorium on Friday to pay their respects to Casey and Natalie.
The service included touching words from Kellis, and Gemma Crook, a family friend and neighbour.
In her eulogy, Kellis recounted how she and her sister would swap classes to trick teachers as children and even into adulthood would phone each other every day.
"Both of you were the best mum and sister I could have ever wished and asked for," she said.
"We had so many laughs together. You have left me with so many happy memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
"Casey tried her hardest with everything. My mum was the same too. My mum was so good to me and my sister. She tried so hard to give us everything we wanted.
"You're both going to be missed by so many people. I wish this wasn't true and it was only a dream."
Music played at the service included Danny and Lizzy's Dancing in the Sky, which Casey had once jokingly asked her twin to play at her funeral, Puff Daddy's I'll Be Missing You and R Kelley's World's Greatest.
Flowers were provided by Ziggy's florist in Dover.
Friends of Casey's are also organising a music festival at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone on November 2, with all money raised going towards a crowdfund for the funeral service, which has already raised £5,000.
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