‘Everyone was in shock... someone could have died’

DEVASTATED Landlord of The Mermaid public house in New Road Portsmouth Percy Hussey, 55, with his partner Barbara Jewell, 41, where a BMW ploughed into the bar area on Saturday afternoon.     Picture: Malcolm Wells (111218-9484)
DEVASTATED Landlord of The Mermaid public house in New Road Portsmouth Percy Hussey, 55, with his partner Barbara Jewell, 41, where a BMW ploughed into the bar area on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Malcolm Wells (111218-9484)
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A LANDLORD has described the terrifying moment a car crashed through the wall of his newly-refurbished pub.

Two customers at The Mermaid, in New Road, Copnor, were sent flying through the air when a silver-blue BMW reduced the building’s front wall to rubble.

ACCIDENT The BMW after crashing into the front entrance of The Mermaid public house Picture: Malcolm Wells (111193-9069)

ACCIDENT The BMW after crashing into the front entrance of The Mermaid public house Picture: Malcolm Wells (111193-9069)

Smashing through two cast iron pillars, a 20mph sign and a thick brick wall, the car came to a stop just feet from the bar, as reported in The News yesterday.

Manager Percy Hussey was inside the pub when the accident happened. He said it felt like a bomb going off.

‘There was a huge cloud of dust and when it settled we could see the car had come right through the wall,’ he said.

‘A couple that were sitting on a bench with their backs to the road had ended up sprawled near the bar, and our fruit machine landed nearby.

‘If those iron posts hadn’t been there to slow it down, the car would have ended up in the bar itself and it could have killed someone.

‘Everyone was just in a state of shock afterwards, someone was screaming and we all hurried out the side door.’

The crash happened just before 4pm on Saturday. A woman was helped out of the car by passers-by, but the driver had to be cut free by firefighters before being taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

Piles of bricks, glass and car parts have been left strewn around the inside of the pub. The hole has now been boarded up.

Mr Hussey said: ‘We had just finished painting all the outside of the pub and we had it looking really smart.

‘It will take a long time to return it to how it was.’

His partner, Barbara, was walking nearby when the accident happened. She said she returned to a scene of devastation.

‘My little boy was playing not far from where it happened,’ she said.

‘There were already firefighters everywhere when I got back. We had turned the pub around and it’s horrible to see so much work go to waste.

‘The couple who were sitting on the bench had never been in before, and I’m not sure they’ll be back after this.

‘Our friends and regulars have been wonderful though, they’ve all offered to come and help clean up.’

The driver of the BMW is still recovering in Queen Alexandra Hospital, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information should call PC Karen Drysdale at Fratton Police Station on 101.