Builder tells of ordeal after crash

A BUILDER who was nearly killed when his moped collided with a fire engine responding to a hoax 999 call has spoken publicly for the first time about his ordeal.

A BUILDER who was nearly killed when his moped collided with a fire engine responding to a hoax 999 call has spoken publicly for the first time about his ordeal.

Ian Gillick was returning to his family home in Clacton after watching a football match with a friend when the horrific crash happened.

The 24-year-old's life was changed forever by the course of events in the early hours of June 27, 2004 - triggered by a bogus 999 call made by Aaron Taylor.

Earlier this week, Taylor, 20, of Skelmersdale Road, Clacton, was found guilty of making the hoax call which resulted in a crew from the town heading to a fictional shed fire.

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On the way to the “blaze”, the fire engine was involved in a head-on collision with Mr Gillick's moped in Clacton.

Mr Gillick suffered a serious fracture to his right leg, a deep gash to his left leg, a broken wrist and a broken thumb.

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He was placed on a ventilator in intensive care in Colchester and his family feared he would not survive.

Even now, two years and four major operations later, Mr Gillick's nightmare is continuing.

He has been unable to return to work as a £45,000-a-year builder and, instead of paying towards his family's mortgage, he is scraping by on incapacity benefit of £70-a-week and hand-outs from his mother. Although he hopes to return to work he still faces another operation on his right leg.

He has no recollection of the accident and only a very hazy memory of the time recovering in hospital.

Speaking from his Clacton home, Mr Gillick said he had also been drinking more than before the accident as it was one of the few things he could look forward to.

He said: “If I saw Taylor face-to-face I probably would not say anything to him as I think I would end up losing my rag.

“My dad and brother are working up in Leeds at the moment and I should be there with them.

“I do miss work, not just the money, because I just sit on the bed day-in and day-out and there is not a computer game available that I have not completed.

“I can now walk round the park but the most I can walk for is an hour, but then I have to sit down for a good while. I hope to go back to work as a builder again, but it won't be for a good few years.”

Mr Gillick hopes go back to work in a less physically demanding job soon to end his reliance on incapacity money.

His mother, Linda, said the family could not face the stress of following Taylor's trial, which began earlier this month.

“When I heard Taylor had been found guilty I started crying, I was just so relieved something has been done,” she said.

“Taylor said he knew nothing about the accident but it was right on the corner near where he lives and he could have been stood watching for all we know. We don't blame the firemen in any way, we know it was an accident.”

After the accident, station officer Nigel Dilley, of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service headquarters, said: “If this prank call had not been made, that appliance wouldn't have been mobilised and that accident wouldn't have happened.”

Taylor is due to be sentenced next month at Colchester Magistrates' Court for making a series of hoax calls between April and July 2004.

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