THE girlfriend of a soldier killed in a car crash has posted a tribute to him on Facebook from her hospital bed.
Paige Palmer is recovering after being seriously injured in the crash in which Fusilier Tony Emery, aged 24, from Westhoughton, died at the scene.
He was on leave from a tour in Afghanistan when he died on Monday after his red VW Golf overturned and landed in a ditch on the A666 near Kearsley at about 11.10am.
Miss Palmer, aged 20, also from Westhoughton, broke her back, neck and pelvis in the crash and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
The crash is believed to have happened after the Golf was overtaken by a BMW.
Both Mr Emery and Miss Palmer, who calls herself Paige Jeffery on Facebook, had to be cut from the wreckage.
Miss Palmer, who also posted a photograph of herself in Salford Royal Hospital, said: “I should have died with him. The police said I was in his arms. It is not fair I miss him.
“Thanks everyone. Love you all for being there for me. RIP my soldier, we should have died together at least I got my last cuddle with you, seems not real all this I will miss you forever Tony. RIP.
“Can’t stop crying, it’s killing me.”
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Fusilier Emery, who served with B Company, Second Fusiliers, was based in Cyprus and had been on three tours, including Iraq, but returned home before Christmas.
It is believed he was due to return to duty later this month.
His commanding officer, Lt Col Jim Taylor, described him as “universally popular” and said he will forever be remembered by his regimental family after his life was so “tragically” cut short.
The 22-year-old BMW driver was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and bailed until March 11.