‘My son suffered so much’ – grieving dad tells crash victim’s life fell apart after accident

John Johnston, 78 and his grandaughter Fay, six and carers Brenda Roberts (wearing uniform) and Denise Barraclough.

John Johnston, 78 and his grandaughter Fay, six and carers Brenda Roberts (wearing uniform) and Denise Barraclough.

A FATHER whose son died two years after a horrific car crash that left him without both legs, says he has never seen anyone go through so much pain.

Keith Johnston, 43, died in his adapted home in Red House last month, surrounded by his loving family and friends.

He had been left paralysed from the chest down after his car skidded on ice and rolled down a ravine in 2012 and later had both legs amputated due to complications with his health.

An inquest last week heard that the crash, which happened 10 miles from Carlisle on the A596, severed Keith’s spinal cord and left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

The father-of-three spent months in hospital before being discharged to a care home in Penshaw and eventually moving back to his own home.

Surgeon Paul Dunlop told the coroner that Johnston continuously discharged himself from hospital in the last months of his life and the hearing heard he was “not cooperative” with medics.

The conclusion was given as accidental death.

Now his grieving parents John, 78, and Ellen, 76, say the description of Keith has upset friends and family. He said: “We didn’t recognised the man they portrayed. In the coroner’s report everything they said was negative.

“That man was an ex-soldier, he was a fine man and I can’t bear to have his name blackened like that.

“He had been in a car accident, which severed his spinal cord. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they had to remove his legs and he had numerous operations to insert tubes. Would you not be bad-tempered?”

The grieving dad paid tribute to careworkers Brenda Roberts and Denise Barraclough who, along with Keith’s close friends Gordon Ord and Jimmy Bell, nursed him through his final months.

He added: “We were the ones that looked after him for the last six months of his life until he died.

“He’d had enough. He said ‘I can’t stand the pain no more, dad’. He was crouched in a ball with towels all over him.

“We went down at 4am to his adapted house and, I’ve seen people die before, but I’ve never seen a man go through so much pain.

“Yes, he grumbled. Nobody would understand. When he was taken to hospital, he probably didn’t have a clue were he was, he was on 30 tablets a day.”

John would often take Keith’s daughters Kay, six, Emily, four, and 15-year-old step-daughter Stephanie, to see him.

“He said to me one day, ‘I would love to pick my little girls up and give them a cuddle’,” John added. “That was his one wish.”

Carer Brenda said: “He was a nice man.

“He had his ups and downs and some days he would say ‘I’m not laughing today’, but he was a pleasure to work with and we do miss him.”

Keith was driving home from a fishing trip in Cumbria when he crashed.




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