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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Man pleads guilty to hurling cone
Kate Flannery
It was feared Kate Flannery had received spinal injuries
An Australian man has pleaded guilty to throwing a traffic cone off a bridge in Edinburgh which seriously injured an Irish student in a street below.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Andrew Smith, 30, admitted culpable and reckless conduct.

Kate Flannery, 24, from Galway in the Irish Republic, said she had forgiven Smith for her injuries. He remains on bail and will be sentenced in July.

After last November's incident it was feared she might never walk again.

Smith admitted throwing a traffic cone from George IV Bridge onto Merchant Street below - where the cone struck Ms Flannery on Sunday 19 November, 2006.

But after months of treatment Ms Flannery said she has made a better recovery than anyone could have hoped.

I've forgiven him (Smith) and I'm just moving forward
Kate Flannery

She said: "I decided early on in the first few days of the accident that I wasn't going to be angry with him and instead I was going to focus my energies on getting better.

"I've just remained like that, it was an accident. I appreciate that he brought himself forward as it made things easier for my family.

"I've forgiven him (Smith) and I'm just moving forward."

She added: "Thankfully, I've done really well and made a better recovery than anyone could have hoped. It's fantastic.

"Someone said to me in the very beginning every single little thing is a milestone, everything that happens is a positive thing.

"And I did that. So when I could move a finger that was a huge positive - my arm, another positive."

The cone was dropped from George IV Bridge

Kate's mother, Dorinda Flannery, said when the accident happened she lived in Edinburgh while her daughter was in hospital.

She said: "A young man offered us a room in his flat. I stayed with him for four months. He was just unbelievable, fantastic.

"And then someone else offered us her second car. We were very, very grateful. They were extraordinary people. All they wanted to do was help".

Advocate depute Alex Prentice, prosecuting, added: "Ms Flannery and her family have indicated that they bear no ill-will against the accused and that they do not wish to see him (Smith) receive a custodial sentence."

The court heard that when Smith heard what had happened he handed himself into police.

At the time Ms Flannery was studying occupational therapy at Edinburgh's Queen Margaret University College and was due to graduate in August.

Last December she underwent an operation to use bone from her hip to repair damage to her spine. Her arms and legs gradually got stronger and she left hospital in February.

It is likely her limbs will be weakened for the rest of her life and she runs an increased risk of arthritis in later life.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Kate Flannery speaks of her forgivness following the incident.



SEE ALSO
Man in court over cone incident
21 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Spinal tests on bridge cone woman
20 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East
Falling road cone injures student
19 Nov 06 |  Edinburgh and East

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