‘Hand yourself in’ urges former gymnast left for dead in road after ‘hit and run’ in Wandsworth

Barney Davis
Hit-and-run victim: Sarah Bermingham, 28

A former gymnast left for dead in the road in a suspected hit and run crash today issued this shocking picture as she begged the driver: “Do the right thing - hand yourself in.”

Sarah Bermingham, 28, who co-founded the gymnastics team for St Mary’s University in Twickenham, has been told by medics it is a miracle she escaped paralysis following the horror crash which also left her best friend in hospital.

The health consultant, who played hockey for Irish giants Leinster as a teenager, was celebrating close friend Fiona Mateer’s 28th birthday at the Grand Union pub in Wandsworth High Street on Sunday March 12.

The school friends, who grew up in Dublin and now live in Sutton, briefly went back to the pub to fetch their coats before crossing the road to meet friends at a takeaway at 1am.

Left for dead: Victim Sarah Bermingham

They were both thrown into the air by the collision, with Ms Bermingham taking the full impact of the crash which left her crushed beneath the front wheels.

Police are hunting the driver of the dark coloured car, which sped off along Wandsworth Plain leaving both women bleeding in the road.

Ms Bermingham told the Standard: “I remember hearing screams and then trying to convince myself that the hit wasn’t as bad as it was.

School friends: Sarah Bermingham, left, and Fiona Mateer

“I was concerned for Fiona but couldn’t register what was going on, the amount of chaos and how much blood was forming around me.

“I was in a state of shock and panic.”

Ms Mateer, a mortgage consultant based in the City, who suffered minor injuries added: “All I remember is stepping out on to the road and everyone behind us screaming. By that point there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t react quickly enough.”

“I was in shock because I thought Sarah had died - there was so much blood.”

Passers-by stopped to warn oncoming traffic of the accident as they gave the two women first aid in the road.

Ms Mateer, 28, said: “A girl lay down on the floor with me and put me in the recovery position and kept talking to me, my friends weren’t allowed to come near or move me.”

Crash victim: Sarah Bermingham was left critically injured

Ms Bermingham remains in a south London trauma ward after undergoing major head surgery in intensive care.

Scans showing two breaks in her vertebrae narrowly missed her spinal cord. She was also left with bruising on her brain, a punctured lung and liver damage.

Doctors were stunned that the Dublin born gymnast had managed to survive her critical injuries.

They told her family, who rushed to be at her bedside from a holiday in Spain, that her fitness and health had contributed to her recovery.

Ms Bermingham added: “The driver must have been shocked and panicked, and that’s why they drove off, but at the end of the day this has been the most challenging time of my life emotionally and physically.

“I don’t deserve this and my family don’t deserve to see me like this. I can only hope they do the right thing and come forward.

“I still have a long road ahead of me. Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.

“Everyone has been telling me how brave I am but I haven’t got a choice, I have to take every day as it comes. “Maybe the driver has a daughter and if the shoe was on the other foot maybe they would want someone to be held accountable, or at least know who they are.”

A Met spokesman said: “The collision occurred outside the Grand Union pub and may have been witnessed by a number of people who were leaving to go home.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 020 8543 5157 or via @MetCC.

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