Bexhill mum’s anger after son, 14, seriously injured in ‘hit-and-run’

A Bexhill mum whose teenage son was seriously injured in a collision with a Land Rover has spoken of her anger and shock.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 1:18 pm
Frankie Groves in hospital. Picture from Michelle Westgarth SUS-210816-121045001

Michelle Westgarth’s 14-year-old son, Frankie Groves, was hit when the car mounted the pavement in Barnhorn Road, she said.

Frankie was left with a concussion, broken collar bone, lots of bruising and swelling, as well as muscle damage to his left leg.

He also had to spend the night at the Conquest Hospital in St Leonards.

Frankie Groves in hospital. Picture from Michelle Westgarth SUS-210816-121056001

Michelle, a crime assessor for the Met Police, said: “Frankie had gone to Tesco and was cycling on his way home. He stopped for a bit and was on the pavement, as he wanted to change the music he was listening to. By the time he looked around there was a car on the pavement in front.

“He was knocked in the air and landed on the ground. That’s the last thing he can remember.”

Witnesses arrived at the scene and one called Michelle on her son’s phone.

She said: “It’s the phone call you do not want to get. Your son’s phone is ringing and a woman at the other end says your son’s been in an accident. You get tunnel vision and you just want to run and be with them. I literally got in the car and drove up there. It was very scary and surreal.

Frankie Groves in hospital. Picture from Michelle Westgarth SUS-210816-121107001

“Witnesses said the driver stopped, got out and literally started going back to the car. One of the witnesses shouted and the driver drove off.”

She branded the driver’s behaviour as ‘abhorrent’.

Michelle said her son initially panicked whenever he went out of the house following the incident, which happened at around 10.30am on Saturday, July 31.

But she said over the last week he has got better, despite the incident ‘knocking his confidence’.

Frankie Groves with mum Michelle Westgarth SUS-210816-121118001

Michelle said: “Frankie came off very lightly, considering what happened, and it could have been much worse. The bike was badly damaged and the front wheel was literally like a figure of eight.

“All of the witnesses were fantastic and the police have been amazing. One of the witnesses who also lives in the area where Frankie lives set up a Gofundme page and raised more than £330 for a new bike, which was presented to him this morning. We were all overwhelmed by their generosity and kind thoughts. A big thank you to all who donated.”

Police have launched an appeal for information.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police were called to reports a 14-year-old boy on a bicycle had been hit by a green Land Rover which had mounted the pavement.

Frankie with his new bike. Picture from Michelle Westgarth SUS-210816-122947001

“The vehicle initially stopped before driving away.

“The victim suffered a broken collar bone as well as cuts and bruises, and was taken to hospital for treatment.

“Enquiries are ongoing, and anyone who saw what happened or who has any other information is asked to report it online or call 101 quoting serial 516 of 31/7.”