NHS worker says he's 'lucky to be alive' after being hit by car in racially-aggravated attack

280720 car nhs racial incident (from west country)
A car deliberately drove into the 21-year-old NHS worker in a racist attack.

An NHS worker says he is “lucky to be alive” after being hit by a car in a racially-aggravated attack. The 21-year-old man, who has not been named, suffered a broken leg, nose and cheekbone and will require plastic surgery to his face and leg. Witnesses described how a car was deliberately driven at the man as he walked home from work at Southmead Hospital in Bristol at about 4.30pm on Wednesday. Two men were heard to shout racist abuse at the man, a keen musician, before running from the dark blue Honda Accord. Avon and Somerset Police are treating the incident as “racially aggravated”, and say it could have resulted in a fatality. The man, who has been recording music since 2017, said he felt “lucky to be alive” and wanted to raise awareness about racism.

The victim will need plastic surgery and six months of recovery.

“I have six months’ recovery ahead of me, minimum,” the African man said in a statement issued through police. “I have a broken leg, nose and cheekbone, will need plastic surgery to my face and leg and am walking on crutches. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, I want people to be aware.” The man was taken to hospital immediately after the incident and was discharged the following day. He thanked the people who helped him after the attack, as well as NHS colleagues, witnesses, police and the charity Sari (Stand Against Racism & Inequality). What happened has affected him both mentally and physically, he said. “I don’t feel safe to walk outside and I can’t play football, record my music, go to the gym or even sleep – I have to try to sleep sitting up,” he said. He asked for people to respect his family’s privacy during the “really difficult time”. “We will bounce back as a family, this will make us stronger. We won’t let the haters win,” he added.

The victim's leg. Credit: Family handout

His mother described the situation as a “waking nightmare” and said she found it upsetting that her son could not do things he should be able to, such as playing football, seeing his friends and going to work. In a statement, Sari described the incident as “horrific”. “We will be doing all we can on behalf of this young man and his family to try and get justice served,” the charity said. “We would like to thank the police for their hard work to date as they proceed with their investigation. “We very much hope that the offenders will be identified, charged and prosecuted as swiftly as possible so this appalling crime can be dealt with as it should and to prevent harm to anyone else.” The charity will support the family and “continue to do everything we can to prevent such hate from happening in the first place”, it added. Andrea Young, chief executive of North Bristol NHS Trust, said she was “incredibly saddened” to hear of the attack. “The police believe this to have been a racially aggravated attack and we are horrified that this is something that has happened to one of our friends and colleagues,” she said. “Racism, in any form, has no place in our society and that an attack such as this can happen is shocking.”

The victim was in Southmead when he was struck by the car.

Avon and Somerset Police were called to a report of a collision involving a car and a pedestrian at 4.30pm on Wednesday. The road, Monks Park Avenue, was closed while investigators examined the scene and recovered the blue Honda Accord. As part of the investigation, officers have interviewed the victim, carried out house-to-house inquiries and examined CCTV footage. They have taken more than a dozen witness statements. Asher Craig, deputy mayor of Bristol, described the attack as “appalling and sickening”. “We stand in solidarity with this citizen and condemn the abhorrent behaviour of the perpetrators,” she said. “No one in Bristol, or anywhere in the world, should be subject to race hate crime and violence and we will do all we can to drive out this behaviour in our city.” Neighbourhood Inspector Lorna Dallimore, of Avon and Somerset Police, said the collision was believed to be “a deliberate act”. “This is a shocking incident in which a vehicle was deliberately driven at the victim and racist language used following the collision,” she said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the force online or by phoning 101, quoting reference number 5220163308. They can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police are speaking with community leaders, the local council and Sari but there is “no evidence to suggest there is a wider risk to the public”, she added. “The individual was left with some very serious injuries, however it could have been far more serious and potentially resulted in a fatality,” she said. “As a result of that, from the outset we’ve treated this incident very seriously.” Inspector Dallimore said a dedicated investigation team had been “working painstakingly” since the incident to pursue lines of inquiry. She described the attack as “extremely rare” and asked members of the community to contact police if they had any concerns.