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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
Hunt for driver who tried to kill Kate
By Alison Freeman
BBC News Online, London

Kate Sheedy in her prom dress
Kate was well enough to go to the school prom on 9 July
A lot of 18-year-olds spend the summer after they leave school enjoying their freedom and looking forward to their first year at university.

But Kate Sheedy says she is still too frightened to go out alone at night after a stranger deliberately ran her over and left her fighting for her life.

The last day of school, 28 May 2004, had been particularly special for the teenager from Isleworth, west London.

As head girl of Gumley House Convent School, in Isleworth, Kate had organised most of the celebrations for the sixth form leavers and gave a speech remembering her seven years as a pupil there.

She then spent the evening celebrating with her school friends in Twickenham and got the bus home from the High Street as it approached midnight.

"All my friends were getting a bus on the other side of the road which was quite good as we could make sure we all got on the bus safely," she said.

I can't comprehend the fact that another human being could do that for no particular reason
Kate Sheedy

After the 10 minute journey she got off at a stop in Worton Road, just a minute's walk from her home.

"I got off the bus and walked on a bit and I saw this car ahead of me. It was parked, the lights were turned off but I could hear the engine running and I thought it was a bit strange.

"It made me feel uncomfortable as it wasn't a car I recognised and it didn't look as if it should be there. I didn't want to walk past it."

So Kate crossed the road, getting out her mobile phone and house keys to make her feel safe.

It was as she walked passed the nearby Worton Hall Industrial Estate that the car started to move.

'I felt crushed'

"As I was crossing the entrance the car turned its lights on and revved its engine, it did a U-turn in the road and I assumed that it was going to drive off but instead it drove straight towards me.

The white people carrier, with blacked out windows, knocked Kate face down onto the floor . The driver's wheel ran over her torso and then reversed back over her again before finally driving away.

"When the car hit me I felt disbelief. I didn't scream or make a sound. I tried to run but the car was moving faster than me," she said.

"I just felt crushed. I stood up but fell straight back down again.

"I thought, 'I've got to get home, I'm very badly hurt' and started crawling."

The entrance to Worton Hall Industrial Estate (l)
Kate expected the car to turn but it drove towards her

Kate crawled several metres before ringing her mother Eileen and then an ambulance.

The teenager amazed doctors by staying conscious throughout the whole experience.

As well as an enormous wound which ran the width of her back Kate suffered severe internal injuries.

Her liver was ruptured, one lung had collapsed, the other was punctured, she had broken the ribs on the right hand side of the cage at the front and back, her collar bone was broken and a tube had to be inserted in her bile pipe.

Kate was taken to West Middlesex Hospital but as soon as the severity of the injuries became apparent she was transferred to Kings College Hospital where she was in intensive care for two weeks.

We were told we had to be prepared for the fact she might die
Eileen Sheedy
Mrs Sheedy said: "We were told we had to be prepared for the fact she might die. But I couldn't let myself think it.

"It was a very surreal experience because of the whole day leading up to it. It was such a big day and everyone was so happy.

"She's so small, I can't believe she has done so well and recovered so quickly."

Kate was unable to sit her A-levels but her place still had to be set out in the exam room - a constant reminder to her friends that she was in hospital.

But the student will receive her results on Thursday along with her school mates, as the exam boards have agreed to grade her on the work she had already completed.

No motive

University is off the cards for this year as Kate finds it hard to walk very far, gets tired easily and says being scared of going out alone would make it impossible to enjoy a social life.

Next September she hopes she can go to York to study for a degree in history and politics. She is expected to make a full recovery.

Kate said: "That person is still out there, that's always in the back of my mind.

"I think it was just my misfortune to be there at that time, but I can't comprehend the fact that another human being could do that for no particular reason."

Police are treating the incident as attempted murder but say they do not think there was a motive for the attack.

They are still looking for a white people carrier, possibly a Ford Galaxy, with blacked out windows.

Ring 020 8247 6256 or 020 8247 6481 with information.


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