By Jane Loughrey
The teenage girl who was struck by a car in Ardoyne in north Belfast almost two years ago sobbed as she recounted to police how she thought she was going to die, as she lay trapped underneath it.
Phoebe Clawson’s evidence was heard at the trial of an Orangeman who is accused of running over her and of injuring five other people, including two police officers.
John Aughey denies six charges, including one of causing grievous injury to Phoebe Clawson, who was 16 years old at the time.
The 63-year-old from Brae Hill Park in Belfast is accused of driving into the crowd in Ardoyne who had gathered in what the prosecution described as an atmosphere of high tension at the flashpoint on 13 July 2015.
John Aughey claims he feared for his life after his car was kicked and a plastic bottle was thrown at it and said he was attempting to escape from a dangerous and escalating situation.
On Thursday afternoon, the trial heard an interview from Phoebe Clawson which was recorded by police in her home a month later.
In it Phoebe, who was in a wheelchair, described how she saw John Aughey reversing his car and putting down the window of his car as if to scare someone.
She said people started running and she ran too, but she didn’t really know what was going on, then she said the car struck her from behind and she was trapped underneath.
At this point she started weeping and sobbing, saying: “I was trying to move. A wheel was near my head. If it went over me one more time I would have been dead.”
Phoebe continued describing how police officers lifted the car to free her. She said: “I started squealing, I was scared. I thought I was going to die.”
Then she related how a priest came over and told her everything was going to be okay, and said she was shouting at him to “get my mummy”.
The police constable was heard asking her about her injuries and she said she suffered a shattered pelvis, fractured ankle and collar, was in hospital for two weeks had surgery that lasted five-and-a-half hours
When further asked how she was feeling she replied: “Useless”.
Under cross-examination from the defence QC, she said she remembered seeing a plastic bottle hitting the windscreen of John Aughey’s car but didn’t see anyone approach his car beforehand.
The jury was also shown police CCTV footage of the moment the car struck Phoebe Clawson.
Some of them gasped out loud and one juror clasped her hand over her mouth.
Judge Smyth told the jury that it was not the prosecution case, nor have they alleged that the defendant caused any of these injuries deliberately.
With many thanks to: UTV, for the origional story.