IT was a day they feared would never come.

But almost four years after she was left in a coma, fighting for her life following a horror car crash, Sophie Wilkinson is getting ready for an emotional return home.

Yesterday a High Court judge awarded the 20-year-old £1.35m in damages, making it possible for the courageous Saints fan to finally leave hospital and move back home with her family for Christmas.

At least £900,000 of the payment will be needed to adapt the family home in Bishop’s Waltham.

Since the terrifying crash that left her with life-threatening head injuries and in a coma for six months, Sophie has needed round-the-clock care and has been staying at a rehabilitation centre in Dorset.

Dad Andrew told the Daily Echo: “We really weren’t expecting to get this amount at this stage and it really has not sunk in yet.

“We are over the moon, knowing that we can finally get Sophie home with her family.

We hope to get everything in place so that she is home this Christmas.”

At the time of the crash in October 2007, her parents, Andrew and Allison, were told it was unlikely that Sophie would ever wake up from her coma, but if she did, she would be unresponsive.

Sophie, who was 17 at the time and dreamed of teaching orphans with Aids in Africa, had been a passenger in the car of her friend, David Brookman, when he pulled out in front of a lorry in Swanmore.

He admitted to driving without due care and attention and walked away from court with a ban and a fine, while Sophie still lay in a coma.

But with a little help from Hollywood star Johnny Depp, she did wake up and she has defied the medics with her continued progress.

She is now able to communicate with those around her and has been well enough to return to St Mary’s Stadium to watch her beloved Saints.

However, despite her miracle recovery, her family has been unable to move her back home, due to her need for 24-hour care and the cost to adapt their home.

But now her family can start preparing for her emotional return after the High Court judge Mr Justice King ordered that insurers pay out an “interim payout” of £1.35m to allow them to buy and adapt a new home.

The money awarded will be placed under the court of protection to allow the Wilkinson family to find a suitable property and make sure it is ready for Sophie, as well as funding two fulltime carers, equipment and a van to transport her around in.

Andrew added: “Sophie is still doing really well. She is talking and enjoys herself but we know she will improve so much more when she is surrounded by her family.

“We never wanted her to become institutionalised.

“When we heard the ruling we couldn’t believe it. As our lawyer said, we can start living our lives now as a proper family.”

The payout is likely to be only a fraction of the full compensation which she will get, as a High Court trial to decide the amount will not take place until the end of next year.