Published: 06:00, 21 January 2021
A distraught mother has told of the agonising moment she had to give doctors permission to turn off her son's life-support machine.
Ollie Waller, 18, was returning home from a visit to his uncle's house on his BMX in the early evening of New Year's Day when he was involved in a collision with a car near the Wheatsheaf junction on the Loose Road in Maidstone.
Ollie suffered severe head injuries in the accident and was taken first to Maidstone Hospital and then to King's College Hospital in London.
Tragically doctors discovered the teenager has been left brain dead, although they were able to keep him breathing artificially for a period.
His mother, Jolene Reader, who had spent time at his bedside singing and talking to him in the hope he would wake up, was told it would be best to let him go.
She said: "I wanted to hold on longer, but I knew it was hopeless."
She laid photographs of Ollie's siblings on his bed and surrounded him with some of his favourite possessions, including his beloved catapult, before the life support was turned off at 6pm on Tuesday, January 12.
She said she told him: "It's alright, you can be with your sister now" - a reference to Sharon, one of Ollie's sisters, who had been stillborn in 2005 when he was just three, but who had made an enormous impression on the young boy to the extent that he always carried the baby's rosary beads wherever he went.
Speaking at the home of her sister, Lisa Chapman, in Quarry Road, Maidstone, and supported by Claire Fry of Tommy's Rainbow Charity Trust, Mrs Reader described Ollie as a happy-go-lucky child, who loved the outdoors and animals. He enjoyed fishing with his cousin, riding his quad bike, dismantling and reassembling his bicycle, and he hated to be separated from his catapult.
But Ollie dealt with many problems in his life.
He suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and was autistic, meaning that although he liked people, he found it difficult to cope with too many at a time. Although briefly a pupil at Cornwallis School at Linton, Ollie had attended Goldwyn Brook, a special educational school in Folkestone.
He also had severe epilepsy, to the extent he would sometimes have a fit three or four times a day.
After the accident, Ollie had an epileptic fit in the road as medics attended him, and the family think it is possible a fit may have been the cause of the tragedy which happened as Ollie left Cranborne Avenue onto Loose Road.
Police have told the family the elderly lady driving the white Volvo XC60 involved in the collision was not to blame, with Ollie apparently hitting the rear of her car, although an inquest is yet to be held.
The accident happened at around at 5.40pm. Mrs Reader, who was at home, quickly heard from neighbours about the accident, which had closed the road to traffic from all directions as emergency services attended.
She said: "I immediately feared it was my sonbecause I knew he would be coming home that way."
One of Ollie's stepbrothers went to see, and was able to identify Ollie's BMX bike to the police.
Ollie was from a gypsy heritage and spent the first five years of his life living in a caravan in Dover, where his father's extensive family are based.
He has three surviving sisters: Chantilly, Suzie and Chardonnay, as well as two step-brothers, Jim and Dan, although he was the only child still living at his mother's house in Quarry Road.
There is no date set yet for the funeral.
A cousin, Tania Reader, has started a GoFundMe page to support the family. Her appeal can be found here.