A YOUNG woman who almost died after being deliberately run over is enjoying life again after finding love and slowly regaining her independence.

Amanda Richards, 40, spent five months in hospital followed by nine months in a rehab centre, where she had to learn to walk and talk again after suffering severe head, arm and leg injuries in the collision eight years ago this year.

Amanda’s injuries were so severe, when she regained consciousness, she believed she was just 12-years-old and she had no memory that her younger brother had died two years previously.

Her mum had to break the news to her once more – meaning Amanda had to begin the grieving process for him a second time.

Her family was told to prepare for the worst, and, at times, Amanda felt such despair that she never believed she would get her life back on track.

But eight years on, Amanda, from Gateshead, Tyneside, is engaged to be married to her fiancé, life-long friend Tom Drummond, and is gradually beginning to gain independence.

“I’m still in constant pain, and I have mobility issues due to my knee, but that is a small price to pay because I realise that I’m very lucky to be alive,” said Amanda.

“I went out that night just as anyone would but ended up in intensive care and my life from that point changed forever.

“I couldn’t walk, I lost much of my memory and, emotionally, I was very up and down. It took a long time for me to understand basics again, like how to use money, and I couldn’t be trusted to look after myself. I would put a pan on the cooker and then forget all about it. My memory issues still persist to this day.

“Although things are better for me now, I will never be the person that I was. I used to work 40 hours a week; now I continue to suffer fatigue and my attention span is poor. I only manage to work two hours a day, three days a week for a really supportive and understanding employer.

“I’m not complaining. I realise how lucky I am to be here at all. In fact, I’m in a really good place. Tom and I are very happy, and I have everything to live for.”

James Slater was 20 when he was given a nine-year jail sentence for mowing down Amanda on a Gateshead street.

Slater had been in dispute with Amanda’s then boyfriend and deliberately drove at them. Amanda took the full force of the impact, suffering devastating injuries, including Post Traumatic Amnesia. For months, she believed she was a schoolgirl and remembered nothing of adulthood.

After the court case, Amanda pursued a compensation claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, and solicitor Jemma Morland, of EMG Solicitors, was appointed by the courts to look after her property and affairs under the Court of Protection, because she lacked the mental capacity to manage them alone and make independent decisions.

With Jemma’s guidance, Amanda has gone on to buy her own home, is renting out a second house, has obtained some momentum and life skills, has sought occupational therapy, and is now learning to drive.

And to top it all, she has an engagement ring on her finger and she and Tom are planning to get married.

“My health and personality have changed, and I’m not the person I was, but I have learned to adapt,” said Amanda.

“The accident brought me and Tom together, it was a twist of fate, and I will always be grateful for that.

“I used to get angry that I wanted the old me back, but with Tom I have found a happy place. With Tom, I can be myself.”

Tom, a warehouse operative, said: “It has taken a long time to get this far, but life is good and we are looking forward to the future. Amanda is a miracle – she’s my miracle.”