Witness search over death of retired nurse, 75

THREE passers-by could hold vital clues to how 75-year-old grandmother Mary Devine was killed when a car mounted the pavement and overturned.

Police are to begin a witness appeal for them to come forward almost three months after the crash in which the retired hospital nurse was hurled 40ft by the impact.

The three men stopped to help the injured driver—unaware that Mary lay dying just yards away in White Horse Lane, Stepney, at 9.20pm on November 16.

“We haven’t been able to trace these three witnesses,” Det Sgt Joe Lock told the East London Advertiser.

“They helped the driver who had cuts to his head and was limping—but the driver disappeared before we got there and they also left.”


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Mary, who retired from the Royal London Hospital 15 years ago, was walking just yards from her home in White Horse Lane when the silver BMW convertible swerved onto the pavement, hit the railings outside Galway House, then somersaulted into a wall.

Two off-duty doctors passing by who found her and ambulance paramedics tried desperately to keep her alive—but she died at the scene half-an-hour later.

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Retired surveyor Harvey Black, who lives in Galway House, said: “I heard a bang, crash, wallop—and looked out to see the overturned car and dialled 999 for an ambulance.

“But I never realised a pedestrian was lying injured until the ambulance arrived.

“They tried to revive her—but had to give up after about 25 minutes.”

Mary died close to the parade of shops where she did her weekly shopping and where she would buy her favourite fish and chips.

Ocean fish bar owner Berhan Geneci recalled: “She was very chatty when she came in for her regular cod and chips.

“Her daughter told us two days after the crash that it was her mother who was killed.”

Newsagent Babu Patel further along said: “I was shocked when I realised she was the woman who died. She was such a nice woman.”

Irish-born Mary was a congregation member of St Mary & St Michael RC Church who had lived in Stepney 40 years where she raised her family of seven children. She had 12 grandchildren.

Her death was a double blow for the family. Their father died exactly a year before—to the day.

Officers will be talking to passers-by next Tuesday in White Horse Lane from 9pm hoping to trace witnesses to the accident on November 16—the same day as the Eid festival—especially the three Asians who stopped to help the injured driver. Witnesses or anyone with information are being urged to contact accident investigators on 020-8597 4874, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.

The driver handed himself in to Limehouse police station the day after and is on police bail.

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