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Paignton hit-and-run victim says: "Catch the coward who left me for dead"

By Herald Express  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

By Caroline Abbott

  • Hannah and Debbie Latham

  • Debbie Latham's dog Popcorn

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A MOTHER injured in a hit-and-run incident has issued a plea to help catch the 'coward' driver who 'left her for dead'.

Debbie Latham, 49, left her Paignton home at around 6.30am on Sunday to take her dog Popcorn for a walk before work.

She was found unconscious on the pavement in Waterleat Road, near the junction with Shepherd Close, less than five minutes' walk from her door.

Debbie suffered deep cuts on her leg, bruises, and she needed stitches in her head and toe.

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She is still in a lot of pain and having difficulty walking.

The catering assistant at Paignton Zoo said she was due to start work at 9am on Sunday and it was still dark when she took her Bichon Frise for a walk. She said: "All I remember is a car veering towards me. The police said they could tell from the tyre marks that it had come down Waterleat Avenue. Then it came onto the pavement. I remember a man's voice swearing.

"Then I remember a girl being there. She found me on the pavement and called an ambulance.

"In the ambulance, they asked me what had happened and I said I thought I'd been hit by a car."

Debbie had been wearing a white fluffy fleece, a black jacket with a hood, blue jeans and black pumps.

Fibres from her clothes, found by the police, showed that she had been dragged along the street.

Popcorn was found whimpering at the Spar shop at the junction of Waterleat Road and King's Ash Road.

Debbie was taken to Torbay Hospital and discharged on Sunday afternoon, but after fainting twice later that day, she went back to hospital and stayed overnight.

She went home on Monday afternoon and she hopes she will be able to return to work in a couple of weeks.

She said she was angry about what happened. She said: "I know it could have been worse and I might not be here at all, but a decent human being would have stopped and called an ambulance."

Debbie's daughter Hannah, 27, also from Paignton, has taken time off from her job as a paralegal in Torquay to look after her.

Hannah said: "I'm thankful my mum's alive and hasn't got broken bones but I'm really angry the driver left her for dead. She was unconscious and bleeding from her head. The driver is a coward and I hope he gets what he deserves."

Although Debbie did not see anyone around who might have witnessed the collision, her family and friends are hoping either that the driver's guilty conscience will lead him to confess to the police, or that if he has told people about the incident, they will inform the police.

A police statement said: "The incident is believed to have happened between 6.30am and 7am on Sunday. The woman was struck by the vehicle and knocked to the ground, suffering head and leg injuries. The vehicle stopped briefly and then made off from the scene. The identity of the vehicle and driver is sought."

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 101 quoting log 185 of January 12.

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  • Timbo175829  |  January 16 2014, 10:29AM

    I think she's quite right to be angry, to run someone down in an accident is one thing, but to drive off and leave that person for dead... woow. I bet somebodies got trouble sleeping at night!

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