Sutton woman ‘thought she was going to die’ after driver ploughed into pub

A car smashed intot he Staff of Life pub at Sutton on Sunday July 2.
A car smashed intot he Staff of Life pub at Sutton on Sunday July 2.

A Sutton woman who was injured when a driver ploughed into her local pub “thought she was going to die” - and says the trauma of the incident has caused her husband to have multiple heart attacks.

Gillian Cassettari, 64, and four members of her family were at the Staff of Life, West End in Sutton, supporting her husband Peter, 64, singing on July 2.

Just as he had finished his performance, there was a loud bang and the sofa Gillian the rest of the family had been sitting on was flung into the middle of the pub by the impact of the vehicle.

Gillian said: ““I thought a bomb had gone off, it was so very loud”, says Gillian, “then I heard multiple bangs, which I thought it was gun fire and I just froze in shock”.

The car had ploughed through fencing, outside furniture and the brick wall of the pub.

“It knocked us flying, we must have gone about five foot towards the bar. Some of us were on the floor and someone said they flew through the air.

“I thought I was going to die.”

Customers sitting outside the pub managed to dive out of the way just in time and kept the driver in the car as they called the police.

Gillian realised a table leg was stuck in her foot and her knees, face, arm and hand were bloody from being hit by flying broken breeze blocks.

She said she doesn’t remember getting out of the pub but knows an ambulance was called.

The rest of her family also sustained multiple wounds and one was hospitalised overnight along with Gillian. 
“I’m usually the strong one, but I was so scared I went into shock, I struggled to get my breath, I remember not being able to see, I was literally frozen with fear”, she said.

Gillian said the shock of the terrifying incident has caused her husband to have four heart attacks - the first just 36 hours after it took place.

“Since that night my husband has had four heart attacks from the emotional stress of the accident, any slight bang now sends us both into a panic. I’m trying to be strong and concentrate on taking care of him, but emotionally I’m really struggling.”

She said the accident has had a long-lasting impact on the couple’s lives, leaving her struggling to sleep and stressed.

“My husband has had to give up work and I am retired so there’s not a lot of money coming in.

“It’s given me a different outlook on life, I used to think I could cope with anything but the last few months have been very difficult.”

A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol following the incident.

Nottinghamshire Police said the man had been ‘released under investigation’.

The family are pursuing a personal injury claim with Mansfield based Hopkins Solicitors.