'Attempted murder' as concrete dropped on A12 cars


Police are appealing for witnesses after two "bucket-sized" lumps of
concrete were dropped from bridges onto cars, smashing their windscreens
and injuring two people.

A 57-year-old woman suffered fractures to her face and ribs as well as internal injuries when a block burst through the windscreen, coming to a rest in the passenger footwell.

The incident happened at 10.05pm last night as the Nissan passed under West Hanningfield bridge on the A12 from Chelmsford to London.

Police are treating the incident as attempted murder. At a press conference today, Chief Inspector Nick Morris said: "It's only by pure luck a lady was not killed last night."

The woman had to be cut out of the car by emergency services. She was taken by ambulance to Broomfield Hospital, where she was in a serious but stable condition.

Her 56-year-old husband, who was driving at the time, suffered minor injuries. The couple were returning to their home in Harold Hill after visiting friends.

Forty minutes earlier, a similar sized concrete block smashed the windscreen and dented the bonnet of another car, a Vauxhall Astra, as it drove under the Fryerning Lane bridge on the A12 from London to Chelmsford.

The driver, a 26 year-old woman, and her 48-year-old mother were unharmed but badly shaken. They were returning to the Chelmsford area after a shopping trip.

Mr Morris said: "It could have been horrendous.

"It smashed the bonnet, smashed the windscreen of the vehicle. It's more luck than anything that no one was hurt."

Referring to both incidents, he said: "It is attempted murder. If you throw a large piece of concrete off a road bridge onto a large, busy road, you are likely to kill someone."

Mr Morris said the concrete block "might have been moulded inside a bucket."

He described it as "an item someone might place on a grass verge to stop someone parking there."

He added: "I don't understand why someone would throw it on a car. The only outcome is going to be someone getting seriously hurt."

Police are treating the two incidents as linked and suspect that more than one person may have been involved.

Mr Morris said: "I'm thinking there's a possibility that the person wasn't out there on their own."

He added: "I would have thought it's someone that knows the area or lives in the area."

Speculating on the age of those responsible, he said: "There's a minimum age someone has to be in order to drive between those two locations."

The bridge over the A12 on Brook Lane has been closed while police complete forensic examinations.

Police said there had been a number of occasions over the last few years where items had been dropped onto vehicles from bridges, but ruled out the possibility of installing CCTV.

Mr Morris said: "That would be an ideal solution to this, but everything comes down to cost. This is a rural location."

He said that the force will be "increasing our patrols for police covering this bridge".

Appealing for those responsible to come forward, he said: "I don't know the reasons; only they have chosen to do this. But they should come forward to take responsibility for their actions."

He added: "I'd like to ask anyone that saw any suspicious activity at the road bridges last night, particularly in the Chelmsford area, to come forward."


Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine