4:16pm Tuesday 3rd June 2014
By Chris Hewett
Witnesses who saw a mother-of-two killed when she was flung from the bonnet of a moving car have described seeing a heated argument in the build-up to her death.
Christie McHugh was killed instantly when her head struck the metal post of a Belisha beacon as she came off the vehicle in East Barnet Road, New Barnet, on March 4 last year.
Friends of the 33-year-old said they heard shouting and swearing coming from the car park of the Lord Kitchener pub, as well as Mrs McHugh banging on the car’s passenger window, moments before the incident in which she lost her life.
Harrow Crown Court heard yesterday how the victim, who was with her baby and five-year-old son, had been drinking with her husband John and nephew in the Lord Kitchener on the afternoon in question.
The trio left the pub and became involved in an argument with the defendant Ophelia Oka-Koi, whose car was preventing them getting the baby’s booster seat in their own vehicle.
Mrs McHugh then got on the front of Ms Oka-Koi’s car and was driven out of the car park and flung off as the car turned right.
Paul Gosling, a friend of Mr McHugh’s, was this afternoon called to give evidence for the prosecution, who say the driver of the car, Ophelia Oka-Koi, caused death by dangerous driving.
Mr Gosling, who was waiting for a bus near the pub at the time, said: “I heard an argument. There was some shouting about moving a vehicle.
“I saw Christie standing at the side of the car, banging on the passenger window, saying ‘I want to take my kids home’ and that saying it was private property. She was shouting in a raised voice and there was some swearing. She was upset, possibly angry.”
Mr Gosling described seeing Mrs McHugh walk to the front of the car and sit on the bonnet. He claimed she was thrown back onto the windscreen as the car accelerated forward, but his account was contradicted by another witness Nicholas Bailey.
Mr Bailey, a regular at the Lord Kitchener and friend of the McHugh’s, said Mrs McHugh had sat on the bonnet and laid back on the windscreen of the car with her arms in the air before it started accelerating.
He said: “She shuffled herself up onto the car and lay back on it before it was moving. The car came out of the car park very fast. I wouldn’t drive out of there at that speed. It just went straight across the pavement and out onto the road and turned right.”
First witness Mr Gosling also told the court about the moment his friend was thrown from the car.
He said: “As the car came around the corner, she was thrown off the left side of the bonnet in a roly-poly sort of motion.
“There was a bang and the big yellow bulb on top of the post came down onto the road. When I arrived she wasn’t breathing.”
The trial continues.
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