Franca Grossi mother-of-two who was murdered in a horrifying vehicle crash in North London a fortnight ago has been identified and pictured for the first time. She was described as “devoted and lovely.” Franca Grossi, 52, of Finchley, the chief receptionist at Toni & Guy academy, was driving home from the bar with her closest friend when their car crashed with another vehicle in Hornsey Rise, Haringey, at around 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, August 13.
Sadly, Franca passed away despite the three passengers being taken to the hospital with significant injuries. She left behind two daughters Giulia and Beatrice, aged 19 and 15, and her loving husband James. As they work to “understand and recover from the abrupt and devastating loss of their rock,” her family is heartbroken by her passing.
When they were struck, Francesco Fontana, 48, the creative director of Toni & Guy, was riding with Franca. In Central London’s Bloomsbury Tavern, the two drank business beverages and lingered late to catch up, he told MyLondon. They “treated” themselves to a taxi since they reasoned that it would be safer and drove home in the direction of Alexandra Palace when the bar called last orders.
Before his world abruptly turned upside down, Francesco recalled being “giggly” and “very chatty” in the rear of the car, according to him. He stated: “I recall saying, “What the f*ck,” even though it was just a second. I only noticed blood coming from my forehead and turned to ask Franca, “Are you okay?””
Francesco claimed to have seen Franca “in the baby position” when she was unconscious but still breathing. He said, “I thought she was just shocked.” Bystanders ordered him to exit the vehicle, but he later went back inside to “search for answers or signs of anything.” He was hauled away once more and transported quickly to the Whittington hospital in Archway, where morphine was administered. Fortunately, all he sustained were “a few cuts and bruises.”
Franca wasn’t as fortunate. After spending the night in the hospital, Francesco was able to use his phone again. He contacted Franca’s husband to check on her, and he replied that she had sustained serious injuries and was in another hospital. A few hours later, he received a phone call informing him that she had passed away.
Francesco remarked to MyLondon: “I recently lost my best friend, and I was completely upset. She was both a friend and a coworker, so I could not believe it. To be honest, I was having trouble breathing. There were numerous thoughts running through my head. I was just replaying it over and over.” Francesco claimed that the accident had left him in mourning, traumatised, and “fuming,” but he was primarily upset for Franca’s daughters.
He recalls her frequently discussing her cherished daughters—sometimes “the things she wasn’t supposed to share”—and treating the academy’s students as if they were her own children. He continued, fighting back tears, “She would have wanted those girls to know how much she loved them.”
A fundraiser setup for Franca – who moved to the UK from Padua in Italy – has already shot up to £14,000. Writing on GoFundMe, friend Samantha Sakkas said: “She was a devoted mother and wife, amazing friend and dear colleague. The sudden loss of this incredible and generous woman has left a huge void in everyone who knew her.
“Franca was one of a kind with a heart of gold, she was an extremely friendly and caring person who lifted everyone’s spirits and was adored by everyone who met her. Franca brought so much love, joy and happiness wherever she went. We were all so lucky to have her in our lives. The world seems less sunny without her. Gone too soon and missed very much.”