Girl’s harrowing ordeal revives memories for window cleaner impaled through his neck

Norman Johnson of Greenwood Road in Sunderland shows how he has recovered after being seriously impaled by a pole ten years ago.  Hospital pictures from the time of the accident.
Norman Johnson of Greenwood Road in Sunderland shows how he has recovered after being seriously impaled by a pole ten years ago. Hospital pictures from the time of the accident.
0
Have your say

MIRACLE man Norman Johnson is amazed that the horrific accident which nearly killed him has been repeated – just yards from his home.

It is 10 years this month since window cleaner Norman cheated death, when he fell from his ladder and was impaled on a 4ft metal bar hidden inside a bush.

Norman Johnson of Greenwood Road in Sunderland shows how he has recovered after being seriously impaled by a pole ten years ago.

Norman Johnson of Greenwood Road in Sunderland shows how he has recovered after being seriously impaled by a pole ten years ago.

The bar went in under one arm, through his chest and neck and came out through his jaw – missing his vital organs by millimetres.

Firefighters took more than an hour to release the 45-year-old, with two of his friends taking the weight as rescue crews worked to cut him free.

He was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital with the bar still in place – but within a couple of days was sitting up and looking forward to getting home.

The horror of his ordeal was brought vividly back at the weekend, when he heard how 10-year-old schoolgirl Caitlyn Brown had fallen on to a seven-inch metal spike, while climbing over a fence near Norman’s home in Gravesend Road, Grindon.

The Broadway Junior School pupil is recovering at home after receiving treatment in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, following her terrifying ordeal on Saturday night.

“I’m really pleased she survived and just hope she doesn’t have nightmares about it later on,” said Norman.

“I know the pain I went through and how she must have felt, and I’m a lot older.”

The park where the young girl fell is less than 500 yards from Norman’s home.

“I’d forgotten about my accident until I read about Caitlyn,” he said.

“I know I’m lucky to still be here and it could have been a lot worse, but I’m not dwelling on something that happened in the past.”

Norman was out of hospital in time to go ahead with his planned wedding to fiancee Joan Lay, in September 2001.

The couple have two children – Peter, 15, and Joseph, five. Norman is still cleaning windows – though he admits he takes it a bit more steady these days.

He said: “It is a job that I love and I’m happy to do it. I’m a lot more careful than I used to be – you never really think its going to happen to you.

“And, of course, I’m still eating kebabs for fun.”

Caitlyn’s mum, Jan Brown, said her daughter is now planning to write a thank you letter to those involved in her rescue.

@sunderlandecho