Diana Ramshaw was injured in a head-on collision in April 2021.
A Sunderland NHS podiatry assistant, who suffered multiple fractures and was diagnosed with PTSD after being involved in a head-on collision with a drug driver, has spoken of her frustration with police and CPS delays that have left her no closer to the compensation she needs.
Diana Ramshaw, aged 54, suffered multiple fractures after the crash on the B1285 road approaching Hetton-le-Hole in April 2021. She had to be cut out of her car by the emergency services and was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Two years later, the grandmother-of-three is still undergoing several procedures and operations and cannot return to her role in the NHS – having worked in healthcare since she was 18.
As well as being under the influence of cocaine, the other driver was found to have been driving without car insurance and a full driver's license. While Northumbria Police launched a police investigation, there were several delays, and when the defendant driver died recently for unrelated reasons, the case was dropped by the police.
Ms Ramshaw said: “When the police called me to say the driver had died and there was nothing more they could do, I was shocked. Where is my closure? I’ll never be able to ask him why you did what you did? I wanted him to face justice.
“I feel so angry about how the police have treated me, but also the CPS – both seemed to blame one another for the delays. The incident happened in April 2021, but I wasn’t asked to give a statement until October 2021. At the incident scene, my friend asked the police if she should let my son know. They said no, they would do that, as there could be a risk of loss of life – but to this day, the police never contacted my son.
“There have been so many failures within the criminal justice system, but no one has shown the care and understanding to see how damaged I’ve been by this whole experience, psychologically, physically and emotionally.”
Ms Ramshaw turned to personal injury specialists at Thompsons Solicitors for legal support.
Thompsons is pursuing a civil claim and has been able to secure significant sums in interim payments to date, but this has been slowed down on several occasions for significant periods by the delays in the criminal case.
Ms Ramshaw said: “In this time, I have had to learn to move about and walk again. I have been wholly reliant on friends, family and carers, crutches, and a wheelchair to leave my house. It appears I will never return to the NHS, caring for others - a job I loved – which breaks my heart.
“I see a psychologist regularly and have been diagnosed with severe PTSD. I’m getting support from the Sunderland and Gateshead Community Acquired Brain Injury Service (CABIS) team, as my mental health has been significantly affected.
“I live alone, feel frightened daily and have awful flashbacks and nightmares about the incident. I feel like I’m living someone else’s life.”
Ms Ramshaw can no longer do the things she loved before the collision, such as going on long walks and looking after her three young grandchildren. It’s had a huge impact on her social life. She’s unable to go to the theatre or go out for food and drinks without assistance, and her closest friends all still work so she feels isolated.
Ms Ramshaw added: “Thankfully, Thompsons has been incredibly supportive. They’ve afforded me the time and care that has been so glaringly missing from the police.
“I can’t fault my solicitor. He’s kept me informed and up to date with developments regarding the civil claim and clearly explained each step of the legal process.”
Trevor Hall, principal lawyer and partner at Thompsons Solicitors’ Newcastle office who is representing Ms Ramshaw, said: "This has been an incredibly harrowing experience for our client, both in terms of the physical injuries and also the emotional distress, compounded by the delay with the police investigation.
“No one should have to experience such a horrendous ordeal seeking justice after being involved in a serious road traffic collision that was ultimately not their fault.
"I'm pleased that we’ve made some progress with the civil claim on interim payments for Ms Ramshaw, but this case highlights the personal toll that delays in the criminal justice system can have on innocent people.”