‘I thought she was going to die in my arms’; Partner talks of jogger rope horror
THE partner of a young woman left with serious injuries after running into a neck-high rope tied across an Exeter footbridge has said he thought she was going to die in his arms.
Samantha Davies, 33, was jogging with Andy Watts close to Salmon Pool Lane when she fell backwards and smashed her head while running at speed.
Mr Watts, who was just behind her, was also thrown back but not seriously injured. He said she was unconscious and blood was pouring from her head.
The police investigation into the incident is ongoing and officers are looking into the possibility that it was a “prank gone wrong”.
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But Mr Watts, 43, a musician from Newtown in Exeter, told the Echo the “joke” has had horrendous consequences.
“We were running at speed across the bridge and the next thing I know we were both on the floor,” he said. “I was thrown back quite violently.
“I looked around and saw Sam. She had gone back so violently she hit her head and did not have the chance to put her hands down to protect her.
“I rolled over to her and she had lost consciousness.
“Blood was pouring out from her head. I had no idea what had happened and started screaming for help.
“After a minute or so two chaps came along. I was terrified and I thought she could have been dying as there was a lot of blood coming from her head.”
Sam was taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and there were fears she had suffered severe spinal injuries. But over the last few days her condition has improved and scans have showed no spinal damage. She has a fractured neck and severe bruising but hopes are rising that she could make a full recovery.
The couple have been together since April and Mr Watts described Sam as “one of those people who never stops smiling and an absolute joy to be around”.
“There is no one more warm and caring and it has been a nightmare to see her in such a traumatic state after such a violent incident,” he added.
“I really thought her neck was broken and she was going to die. It was utterly shocking.
“The rope caught Sam clean in the neck and her bruising is horrendous. She could easily have been paralysed or killed.
“Thankfully she has not suffered any spinal injuries but she has a neck fracture, horrendous bruising and a touch of amnesia. Her memory has started to come back. She remembers going for a run but not the incident itself.”
Mr Watts said he did not bear any malice towards those responsible but wanted them to realise the “horrendous consequences” of what they did.
“I really hope and feel this is just naivety of youth – people carrying out a foolish prank that has gone horribly wrong,” he said. “But they need to know the result of their actions. Sam could potentially have been paralysed or no longer with us. It was just utter stupidity.
“I run in that area all the time and that bridge is often used by cyclists. If they had been travelling at 25 miles an hour they could easily have been killed.
“It was so dark you couldn’t see a thing. But running over a footpath you would never expect to see a rope.”
He added: “I am not sure how likely it is the police will catch them. Maybe someone has been bragging about it on social media.
“We just hope that Sam will make a full recovery. She is the most positive, charming person I know.
“I would not wish what happened on anybody. It was a very shocking experience and I am just thankful it looks as though Sam is going to come out the other side.”
Detective Inspector Grant Leitch, of Exeter CID, said: “It would appear that someone has maliciously put this rope across the walkway at such a height to stop someone who is innocently walking, running or cycling past. This is a serious and troubling incident and I would like to appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity of this incident at around 8.30pm on Thursday evening, September 19.
“If anyone saw anything – a person or a group of people, possibly acting suspiciously – we would like to hear from them. Even if it’s a small detail, it could be valuable information that can assist the investigation. “This includes any instances where members of the public have seen the same appalling behaviour at another time.
“We must to bring whoever did this to justice. This may have been a profoundly mindless act that’s had a very serious consequence. Whoever did this may have done it as a prank and are now possibly regretting their actions. I would say to them, if you have any sense of remorse I would encourage you to come forward.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference DE/13/8836.