Sunday Life

Pal of mown down have-a-go hero talks of hit and run horror

06 March 2005

This is the have-a-go hero, whose pal is fighting for his life after he was mown down by a drug-crazed death-driver.

Gerard Braiden (51) from Dunmurry, had a miraculous escape after a ruthless car-thief ploughed into his friend, Norman Lowry, at Academy Street in Belfast city-centre, on Tuesday.

Said Gerry: "There was no expression on this thug's face - Norman didn't exist as far as he was concerned.

"The only thing that mattered was the car."

Mr Lowry (52) a part-time artist, suffered serious head injuries.

He remains in a critical condition at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Mr Lowry was due to attend his first-ever art exhibition in east Belfast, when he was mown down.

The two friends, who work in the Cathedral Quarter area, were chatting near the Belfast Education and Library Board car-park, when they noticed the glue-sniffing thug attacking a woman.

As the pair ran to her aid, the car-thief managed to get inside a silver Ford Fiesta and race off - with the terrified female car-owner still INSIDE!

Mr Lowry was first to arrive at the entrance of the car-park, where he managed to close one of its gates in a bid to keep the hood trapped inside.

But, as he was turning away, the joyrider rammed the gate - ploughing straight into him.

Gerry watched in horror as his pal was hurled through the air, and the woman was thrown from the stolen car.

Cops are probing the theory that the car-thief may be responsible for a series of similar hijackings in the area.

It is also believed cops passed the stolen car, minutes before they arrived on the scene.

The Fiesta - registration TCZ 1127 - was later found burned out at Upper Springfield Road, in west Belfast.

Added Gerry: "I could see it in his eyes - this scumbag didn't care who was in his way, when he rammed the car into the gate.

"I was just a foot away from the gate and, the next thing I remember, Norman is flying through the air with blood streaming down his face.

"I honestly thought he was dead, when I saw him lying there. The only thing he was trying to do was help someone.

"I can't believe this has happened to Norman. I just hope he makes a speedy recovery.

"He should have been at his exhibition, rather than ending up in hospital.

"I tried to tell him to get away from the gate, because I had a feeling this hood was going to ram it.

"I can't believe this has happened."

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