Royal escort crash: Agony for family of woman, 81, left in a coma
‘We are praying for a miracle’ Family of ‘beautiful and kind’ great-grandmother, 81, left in a coma after being hit by police bike in Duchess of Edinburgh’s motorcade say they are ‘deeply saddened and shocked’
- Helen Holland was ‘thrown 40 feet across the road’ when hit by a royal escort
- Relatives praised the ‘beautiful and kind’ great grandmother as she fights for life
Distraught relatives have paid a warm tribute to a great-grandmother fighting for her life in hospital after being struck by a police escort for Sophie, Duchess of Wessex.
The collision happened at the junction of West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in Earl’s Court, west London, at around 3.21pm on Wednesday, May 10.
An eyewitness said Ms Holland was ‘thrown 40 feet across the road’ after being struck by a motorbike.
In a statement shared with Sky News yesterday, family members described Mrs Holland as a ‘beautiful, loving, kind and caring lady who would always put anyone before herself’.
Ms Holland’s family were said to be ‘deeply saddened and shocked’ by the news she had been so seriously injured in the collision.
An 81-year-old woman who is in a coma after being hit by a police bike escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh has been pictured and named by family as Helen Holland (pictured)
A SEG (Special Escort Group) police bike can be seen inside a police cordon
They stated: ‘Helen may be 81 years old but she is sprightly for her age and nothing stopped her living life to the full, spending precious time with her family, muddy walks with the dogs and lunches with friends is what she enjoyed most.’
Ms Holland, a mother-of-four, grandmother-of-ten and great-grandmother of even, was also described as a ‘well-respected and popular’ member of the community.
Her family added: ‘The outpour of love and support the family have received from those that know her is hugely appreciated.
‘We are all praying for a miracle and ask that you keep her in your thoughts and prayers too.’
Speaking on Friday, Ms Holland’s son Martin and daughtew in law Lisa Marie said they were ‘shocked and sickened’ at her injuries.
They added: ‘She is being well cared for by the who we must thank deeply.’
Buckingham Palace released a statement on Thursday saying the Duchess was ‘grateful for the swift response of emergency services and will keep abreast of developments’.
It added that further comments would not be appropriate while the investigation is ongoing.
Witness Martin Hennessy, 62, told the Mirror: ‘She’s lucky to be alive at all. The road is a nightmare.
‘When you get to the junction you have to step out to see if anything is coming, that’s when she was hit.
‘She’d been thrown across the road and the ambulance were treating her.’
Road closures were in place in West Cromwell Road near Earl’s Court in West London. Black screens placed around a square brick electricity unit close to the crossing, as part of attempts to ‘decorate’ the area for the Coronation, meant pedestrians were unable to see oncoming traffic. The screen can be seen here in the road
The Duchess of Edinburgh (second to right) is seen with The Prince and Princess of Wales (left) and Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh on May 9, as part of the Coronation celebrations
Eyewitness Martin Hennessy, 62 claimed that black screens placed around a square brick electricity unit close to the crossing, as part of attempts to ‘decorate’ the area for the Coronation, meant pedestrians were unable to see oncoming traffic.
He told MailOnline: ‘This was an accident waiting to happen. The screens had been put up for the coronation, but it meant that you had to step out a bit into the road to see any traffic.
‘I was there soon after it happened and it was carnage. The poor lady was flung about 40ft along the road and paramedics were attending to her. She stepped out a bit to peer around the screens and was hit.’
He added: ‘There have been a lot of near misses there recently because of those screens but getting across that road is dangerous at the best of times because it’s so busy.’
Local residents revealed that they had complained about the black screens (pictured after being taken down following the collision) to the local authority after they were placed there ahead of the coronation
The unnamed woman, in her 80s, is fighting for her life after she was ‘flung 40ft’ by the officer’s motorbike, which was escorting Sophie through West London on Wednesday
Emergency services attend the scene of the collision in Cromwell Road in west London
Buckingham Palace says the Duchess of Edinburgh’s ‘thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family’
The crash occurred on the A4 Cromwell Road junction with Nevern Road in Earl’s Court, west London
The crash occurred on a busy junction of Cromwell Road and Nevern Road on the A4 in Earl’s Court, west London, a just a few minutes’ drive from Kensington Palace
Local residents revealed that they had complained about the black screens to the local authority after they were placed there ahead of the coronation. They have been taken down following the crash.
Lucia Zanetton said: ‘These screens caused us a lot of problems because you couldn’t see the traffic properly. A lot of accidents happen in this area because it is a very busy road.
‘When you cross this road you are risking your by life and these screens didn’t help.’
On Wednesday night, Buckingham Palace said the Duchess of Edinburgh’s ‘thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family’, adding she was grateful for the ‘swift response’ of emergency services. There are no reports of any other injuries.
Pictures taken at the scene show a Special Escort Group police bike – commonly used to escort royals and high profile government officials – inside a police cordon surrounded by medical equipment.
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