Family of Crash Victim Launches Fresh Witness Appeal

Witnesses required to support compensation claim


The family of a woman left paralysed when she was hit by a car almost three years ago is worried they may not be able to provide the care and therapy she needs unless witnesses to the incident come forward to support her claim for compensation.

Newcastle mother of three Muriel Donnelly was 44 when she was hit by a car at 4.30pm on Wednesday, 5th January 2005, at the junction of Newcastle's West Road and Slatyford Lane.

She was left in a coma for three weeks and is now paralysed from the neck down and requires 24 hour care.

The driver involved was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, but the family need witnesses to help support a civil claim for compensation. They have instructed leading Newcastle personal injury law firm Irwin Mitchell, to help pursue the claim.

Even though the incident took place on a busy Newcastle road, no witness has ever come forward to say what happened. Irwin Mitchell's lawyers have launched a renewed bid to find witnesses and are putting up posters in shops around the area in an effort jog peoples' memories.

John Davis, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: "When you consider the time and day that the collision happened, somebody must have seen something - and an accident as horrific as this is unlikely to be easily forgotten.

"We are looking to ensure that funds are in place to give Muriel the best possible chance of improving and to give her family the means with which to care for her properly."

August is National Road Victim Month - a campaign aimed at ensuring people who have had their lives changed by road accidents are not forgotten about. Muriel Donnelly is a perfect example of someone who should not be forgotten and could benefit hugely from increased support and therapy.

J Ramsay, Muriel's partner of 27 years, said he is amazed by the strength Muriel has shown. He said: "Muriel has made some incredible improvement and you can still see her personality shining in her eyes and in her smile. But in two-and-a-half years she has only received therapy for around 16 weeks.

"The first three years after an injury like this are the most crucial, but they have nearly passed - I hope there is still time to make a difference.

"We have been told that Muriel could make so much more progress with the proper care, but it is just too expensive for us - therapy can cost upwards of £90 per hour.

"I cannot imagine why nobody has come forward to help with our case. The criminal charges were dropped so they would not be getting anyone into trouble with the police."

Muriel had been receiving round-the-clock attention at a care centre in Elswick, but showed sufficient improvement to return home. However, as well as therapy for Muriel, Mr Ramsay said more alterations needed to be made to their home to allow Muriel to live there permanently.

He added: "The council has helped with a lot of alterations to the house but there are still countless improvements that need to be made to make it suitable for Muriel to live at home full-time.

"Luckily we have had a huge amount of support from friends and family - people have really rallied round to help us wherever they can."

John Davis added: "I urge anyone who has any information about the incident to contact me - just one good witness could make such a difference to Muriel and her family."

John Davis can be contacted at Irwin Mitchell's Newcastle office on 0191 279 0090.