Leicester

M1 pile-up victim 'no animosity for Christy George'

Liese Bowers-Straw is made an MBE by Prince Charles Image copyright PA
Image caption Liese Bowers-Straw was made an MBE days before she was involved in an eight car pile up which left her with life-altering injuries

A woman who broke her neck in an M1 motorway pile-up feels she is "in prison" but has no animosity to the driver who caused the crash.

Liese Bowers-Straw was made an MBE for her work days before the eight-vehicle smash, near Leicester.

One driver died when a lorry crashed through the central reservation after Christy George lost control of her car.

George, 38 and from Nottingham, was convicted on Friday, of causing death by dangerous driving.

Image copyright Liese Bowers-Straw
Image caption Ms Bowers-Straw was in a full body suit for four months which was screwed into her skull and fixed to the body in four places.

The defendant, a nurse, was also found guilty of causing serious injury through careless driving and attempting to pervert the course of justice after deleting her call history immediately after the crash.

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Ms Bowers-Straw, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, has not been able to go back to work for the Border Force at Heathrow and East Midlands airports, since the crash in November 2014.

She also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, has regular flashbacks and "can't look at a car, let alone get in one".

"I remember headlights coming towards me and thinking, 'That's it. I'm a goner'," she said.

Image caption The injuries she suffered means she still needs a neck brace, struggles to walk and finds it difficult to leave the house

"I've gone from being a full-time career women, travelling the country really loving my job, doing lots of volunteer work to someone who sits in the house all day," the 47-year-old added.

"I will never get my life back again. In a way I'm in prison for everything that's happened to me."

Ms Bowers-Straw was returning to East Midlands Airport when she was caught up in the crash, which left two other people injured as well as killing Murray Simpson, from London.

It came just five days after she was made an MBE for championing the rights of the disabled, by Prince Charles in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Image copyright Liese Bowers-Straw
Image caption Liese Bowers-Straw had been at Buckingham Palace five days before the crash

Ms Bowers-Straw said she hoped people would realise how devastating it can be to use a phone while driving.

"I feel absolutely no animosity towards Christy George herself," she said. "I just feel that everybody ought to be aware how dangerous it is to use a mobile phone while driving.

"We really ought to sit and think, is that call worth a life."

George will be sentenced next month.

Image caption Christy George, from Nottingham, had denied causing death by dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice

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