Woman paralysed after being thrown off bridge by ‘jealous’ friend says it has ‘made her a better person’

Emily said the incident has “made her a better person”

A woman who was thrown 25ft off a bridge by a “jealous” friend leaving her paralysed from the chest down, has said that the incident has “made her a better person”.

Emily Holliday, 20, suffered catastrophic injuries while walking home after a night out with friends in September 2018.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As they approached a canal bridge, a 17-year-old friend - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had been acting ‘irrationally’ and jealous towards Emily – accusing her of cheating on her then-boyfriend.

He then lifted her up and threw her over the side of the bridge - and Emily plummeted 25ft to the ground, landing on the canal path below.

Emily said she heard a “massive crack” from her spine on impact and that she remembers every “agonising” second of the fall.

She was rushed to hospital where she was given the devastating news that she had severed her spinal cord and would never walk again.

The teen responsible was arrested and admitted a charge of wounding at Birmingham Crown Court in April 2019. He was sentenced to two-year youth rehabilitation order - avoiding any time behind bars.

‘I was given a second chance at life’

Despite being left with life-changing injuries, Emily said she is choosing to remain positive and that she is now “a better person”.

Emily took to TikTok to share her story and inspire others - which has been viewed more than 3.5 million times.

Emily, who is unable to work, from Birmingham, West Midlands, said: “I remember the moment he picked me up and threw me over.

"It’s clear as day - I remember falling and hearing a massive ‘crack’ when I landed on the embankment.

"I couldn’t feel anything, I could only move my arms, and I knew it wasn’t good.

"I woke up in hospital and doctors told me: ‘You’ll never walk again.’

"I was utterly heart-breaking to hear.

"Despite everything I feel so lucky to be here - I was given a second chance at life."

‘He was being really aggressive and saying nasty things’

Emily had known the teen for around five years, during school, and believed he had “feelings” for her.

On 1st September 2018, the two of them and others had been drinking and were all walking home in Solihull, Birmingham.

Her friend had been acting ‘irrationally’ and started spouting ‘insulting words’ towards Emily about being unfaithful.

She said: "I think he was a bit obsessed with me - but I didn’t feel that way towards him.

"He was being really aggressive towards me and saying nasty things, but I just tried to ignore him."

As the pair approached a canal bridge, the teen suddenly scooped Emily into his arms and tossed her over the side.

She fell 25ft and landed on the embankment below - where she remained for over an hour as paramedics tried to carefully move her.

“I thought ‘this is it – I’m not going to make it,’’ Emily said.

"It almost felt like what he was doing wasn’t real - like I was dreaming.

“My friends started screaming because they couldn’t find me and they called an ambulance.

“I drifted in and out of consciousness and I couldn’t feel anything from my lower body."

Emily spent five-and-a-half months in hospital

Emily was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where doctors treated a catalogue of injuries.

She had broken her spinal cord, the vertebrae T3 to T6, four ribs, her breastbone and punctured her lung.

Emily spent eight weeks on flatbed rest before she was allowed to sit up.

She was eventually transferred to Midlandlands Centre for Spinal injuries, for rehabilitation.

All together she spent five-and-a-half months in hospital before she was able to go home.

‘I was disappointed with the outcome’

The case eventually went to Birmingham Crown Court in April 2019 where the teen admitted to a charge of wounding.

He was sentenced to a two-year youth rehabilitation order.

Emily said: "I was disappointed with the outcome.

“I don’t think it’s fair that he has completely changed my life and walked away from prison."

Emily had surgery in April 2021 and an MRI revealed a cyst growing on her spine.

She still battles daily pain however she is looking to the future and remains positive.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.