MALPAS ROAD SHOOTING: Great Gran tells of shotgun ordeal
11:26am Thursday 25th August 2011 in Malpas Road shooting
A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER who came face to face with the Newport gunman who shot his estranged wife in a hair salon says she feels lucky to be alive.
Connie Evans, 92, of Victoria, was one of three women to suffer gunshot wounds after Darren Williams shot Rachel Williams as she worked in the Carol- Ann’s hair salon, Malpas Road, at 2.20pm last Friday.
The pensioner, who is suffering from flashbacks of the attack, believes she would have died if Williams had misfired his shot.
She said: “If he had moved one little bit he would have shot me and I would be dead.”
Mrs Evans was paying for her cut, shampoo and set at the cash desk when Williams burst through the door of the hairdresser’s she has been visiting for the past six years.
The mother of one said: “This big tall man came in and I said to myself ‘Cor, he’s not not going to have his hair cut, surely?, with that he said ‘Rachel I love you, take this’ then grabbed hold of her and punched and kicked her.
Mrs Evans said Mrs Williams was screaming, crying and pleading with her husband to let her go as the pair wrestled with each other. He then took out the double-barrelled shotgun and shot his wife in the knee causing her to fall to the floor before aiming a second shot in her direction.
Mrs Evans, who is originally fromItton, near Chepstow, said she heard four shots in total, with the last deafening blast causing her to fall to the ground knocking over a table and cutting her head on a wall.
The former bakery delivery girl recalls feeling sharp needle- like pains in her bottom and looked down to see blood pouring from her wounds as Williams fled the scene.
She crawled on her hands and knees to the hooded dryers, as salon owner Carol Ann McSheedy, who suffered a wound to her ear, ran to get help as another customer fled to safety out the back entrance.
She said: “Everything was everywhere, there was blood running down my neck.
“I didn’t cry, I just took it as it was, I can’t find words for it. I was very brave.”
“Rachel went down, she was holding her head in her hands, she didn’t talk for about five or ten minutes.
“She was on the stretcher in a bad way, I thought she was dead.”
Staff from nearby Budget Vets came to the women’s aid and wrapped a towel around Mrs Evans’ head to stem the bleeding.
She was taken to Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital, where she had 13 pellets removed from her bottom and one from her leg, and was allowed home to stay with her son Des Hammond, 69, and his wife Shirley, 70, later that day.
She added: “Doctors said I was very lucky and had a miraculous escape.”
It was only by chance that Mrs Evans was in the salon that day after she moved her regular Thursday appointment because she had a dentist appointment.
She said: “It hasn’t really sunk in, I cannot believe that I was somewhere in the middle of a gunfight at my age.
“I still haven’t cried since but I will have one soon, I will have to because it’s building up.”
But Mr Evans, who served in the fire service in Newport during the Second World War, is determined the incident will not blight her life and is looking forward to returning to her own home with her Jack Russell dog, Spot, later this week.
Rachel Williams was being treated for her injuries at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital. A notice on the windowof the hair salon yesterday said it was hoped the salon would re-open today.
|EDITORIAL COMMENT: Calm and cool – and so brave|
WE CANNOT praise enough the bravery of the 92-year-old widow who confronted a gunman at a hairdresser’s in Newport.
Great grandmother Connie Evans has spoken of the moment Darren Williams walked into the salon with a double-barrelled shotgun.
Williams was later found dead in BrynglasWoods after a six-hour search that brought large areas of the city to a standstill.
His estranged wife is recovering after she was shot in one of her legs. Ms Evans fell and hit her head during the ordeal and had thirteen gun shot pellets removed from her body after she was caught in the crossfire.
Yet remarkably she seems in surprisingly good spirits despite what happened.
She said although she was frightened, she “wasn’t crying and didn’t get panicky” and added: “I was very brave.”
She certainly was.
It’s hard to imagine how any of us would act when faced with someone brandishing a gun.
Ms Evans is from a generation that has lived through a world war and that obviously seems to have instilled an element of bravery in her that many people don’t have.
She acted remarkably calm and cool in what must have been truly frightening circumstances.