'I was pushing people out of harm's way': Terrified mum blocks pavement as yobs hurl bricks and glass from derelict Newcastle building

Brave pedestrians blocked the pavement to keep others safe as yobs hurled glass and bricks from the windows of a derelict city building.

Shabreen Zahire was walking past Angel Heights, a former nursing home in Newcastle's West End, when she was struck by a piece of glass last Friday afternoon. And when the mum looked up she saw stones and bricks were also being pelted from the former nurses' home onto to the busy road and pavement below.

Shabs was stopped in her tracks by another pedestrian who shouted at her to stop and stay away from the building as the dangerous objects continued to rain down.

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So the 41-year-old joined the man in warning others of the dangers ahead. Police are now investigating the incident, which happened at around 4.40pm on Friday. And today Shabs has told of her relief that no one was seriously hurt.

She said: "I was absolutely terrified. I was pushing people out of harm's way. It just kept on going. It was stones, glass and bricks. You could see the bricks on the road. It went on for a good 40 minutes."

General view of the old Angel Heights building on Westgate Road
General view of the old Angel Heights building on Westgate Road -Credit:Newcastle Chronicle

Shabs, who works as a counsellor, was walking home from the city centre when the drama unfolded. She was not injured by the glass that hit her, but feared motorists passing on Westgate Road or parents collecting their children from school could have seriously hurt.

"It was a beautiful Friday afternoon, the weather was absolutely beautiful," she explained " I was going back to my home on Wingrove Road preparing to see my son after school. I was walking past the building opposite the General Hospital and suddenly there's glass that hits the pavement and me. I thought it was just me, then I looked and there was a gentleman gesturing to me and saying "don't move"

"He said there was someone throwing rocks and glass. I looked up at the building and I could see a lot of the windows were smashed. Thankfully there was no serious injuries, but my concern was the parents started coming from where I was.

"I started doing what the other gentleman was doing and told people not to cross the road. Thankfully my son wasn't with me, but if he had been it would have been quite a terrifying situation."

Shabs reported the incident to police and officers are now investigating.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Shortly after 4.40pm on Friday, April 19, we received reports of anti-social behaviour at a disused building on Westgate Road. It was understood that a group of people had been trespassing inside of the property and have thrown debris including bricks and glass from the building onto the street.

“Officers attended where thankfully no injuries were reported. However, those involved had left the scene before police arrival. Enquiries are ongoing alongside the landowners to address recent pockets of disorder at the privately-owned site. We would also remind everyone that the state of the building could pose a serious safety risk."

ChronicleLive reported last year how plans to transform Angel Heights, which has been left abandoned for years, into flats had been approved. The project, by developer Jomast, would also see 12 duplex style apartments built at the back of the Westgate Road site.

Angel Heights opened in 1925 and provided accommodation for nurses working at the neighbouring Newcastle General Hospital. It was later turned into a hostel for asylum seekers.

Shabs now hopes something will be done to make the building more secure until it is redeveloped.

She added: "There's a lot of unanswered questions. It could happen again."