THE distraught mum whose dream home fell off a cliff overnight today told how her family has been left with just the clothes they had on when they fled.
Emma Tullett revealed in an emotional statement, read out by her neighbour, they rushed out without any belongings – with the children not even wearing shoes.
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The land beneath family home on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, started to collapse on Sunday, and overnight completely gave way in a devastating final blow.
The heartbroken mum-of-five, who bought the property in August 2018, had not got insurance as it was labelled too close to the cliff face and lamented she’s “lost everything”.
Today she had her head in her hands as she gazed at the damage and loss of her home before having a cup of tea in a neighbour’s garden.
In a statement she said: “We are all obviously devastated by the loss of our home.
“As you are aware we left the premises with just the clothes on our backs. My children didn’t even have shoes on.
“Our lives have been turned upside down by the events of the weekend, events that no one could have foreseen happening so quickly and on such a large scale. We are just grateful that we all escaped without harm.
“I would like to thank the entire community of Sheppey who have been so unbelievably supportive and have rallied round for us with offers of help.
“Pat and Paul of PGK Motors for their amazingly generous donation of a car, the emergency services including Sheppey coastguard for their help in getting us all to safety and our little community on the Eastchurch gap who have been amazing in our time of need.
“I would now like to ask for privacy and time to spend with my family and try to rebuild our lives.”
Shocking pictures show the home having been ripped from the top of the cliff, scattered on the ground below.
Co-op assistant manager Emma said on Sunday: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking – we’ve lost everything. This was my dream home which I paid for in cash.
“We were told we’d have about 40 years living here, but we’ve not even had two.
“We can get a new house, a new car – but it’s things like baby photos of my children that will all be at the bottom of the cliff now.
The £195,000 house – which also had an annex for two of her teenage children – started to collapse during the cliff fall over the weekend.
Half the property fell to the sea below along with her orange Seat Ibiza and she, her partner and four of her kids were evacuated.
But in the early hours of today most of the house finally collapsed, and all that appeared to be left was the annex building and swimming pool.
Emma said she first noticed bricks in her front garden separating after arriving home from work on Friday afternoon.
Within hours, she heard “crunching” and blinds in her living room fell off the wall shortly after 9pm.
Emma grabbed her children and the family left the house with just their phones, chargers and the clothes on their backs.
They were evacuated to a local community centre and are now in temporary accommodation in Sittingbourne.
Emma went on: “I was sitting there watching TV with a glass of wine and then the blinds fell off the wall. Everything happened really quickly.
“I heard this crackling and crunching and then you could tell the cliffs were gone. I think the cracks must’ve been getting bigger over a few days.
“We grabbed the kids and the teenagers from the annex and just said get whatever you can.
“Today, half of our house fell off the cliff. All that’s left is the living room, a bedroom, kitchen and the hallway.”
Parish Councillor Malcolm Newell, who lives two doors away, estimated at least eight households have been told they cannot return, reports the BBC.
He said: “I’m out. I can’t go back. Apparently there are more cracks appearing along the front.
“This should have been dealt with a long time ago. It’s not right to have people’s homes, their livelihoods, falling into the sea.”
Mr Newell believes that rock-filled wire cages should be installed at the bottom of the cliffs to make the area more secure.
He added: “If this was looked at earlier on and more was done, the cliff could have possibly been saved.
“People complain that the money could be put to better use in the community, but we are part of the community – that’s what’s wrong here.
“I don’t want to move, anyone would give a million dollars for that view, this was supposed to be the last stop for me.”
A spokesman from Swale Borough Council said: “We met with local representatives and the Environment Agency to discuss erosion along this stretch of the Island.
“The new council administration have expressed their opposition to the current shoreline management plan approach where there is no active intervention to defend this area, and this position is due to be formalised when we are able to hold a full council meeting.
“In the intervening period, we have continued to engage with the Environment Agency to see what measures can be taken.”
Kent Fire and Rescue Service said it was called at 7am to a landfall of a “significant section of cliff” that left a house “structurally unsafe and at increased risk of collapse”.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/919000/house-hanging-cliff-falls-kent-isle-sheppey/