Narrow escape as 24ft pole smashes OAPs’ window

On any other day, Shona and Ralph would've been in the dining room at the time. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
On any other day, Shona and Ralph would've been in the dining room at the time. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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TWO pensioners narrowly escaped being injured by a metal pole slung through the window of their dining room – after deciding to spend a bit more time in the garden.

Ralph and Shona Howden, from Lasswade, were in the garden of their Elm Row home about 4.55pm on Monday when a 24ft long pole smashed through their dining room window.

The accident left extenaive damage. Picture: contributed

The accident left extenaive damage. Picture: contributed

The object had been attached to a lorry turning the corner at a busy junction immediately outside the property.

The couple, who are both in their 70s, would usually have been eating their evening meal in the room at the time, but were instead finishing off some pruning in the garden.

The force of the impact threw glass from the double-glazed window across the room, ripping off the surrounding walls and destroying a stand-alone cabinet. The damage has been estimated at up to £10,000.

Mr Howden, 76, described the sound of the pole shattering the window as like “someone throwing a grenade” into the house.

He said: “Dinner is usually about that time. My wife usually sits in the corner of the dining room and watches one of the other tellies when she’s preparing the meal.

“It just so happened this day that we’d worked on to finish things in the garden. If we hadn’t, God knows what could have happened. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

“It was a double glazed window and the glass with the force of it had gone right through to the opposite end of the house. It was just like a bomb going off.

“Forty-three years we’ve been here, that’s the first time there’s been anything like this.”

Mr Howden said his 75-year-old wife had been left “shocked” by the terrifying near miss.

The lorry had been turning from Elm Row into Polton Road when the incident happened. The route is the main thoroughfare running between the A7 and Loanhead. The pole was still attached to the vehicle, but had been hanging over the front of the lorry.

Mr Howden – a retired motor engineer – said: “We saw the lorry come around the corner, but didn’t realise what had happened until after the explosion – it was more like an explosion. We were left with 12 feet of the pole – it snapped through the middle. The force of the impact must have been [huge].

“It was a good job it was an older type building, with a foot-and-a-half thick walls.”

Police were called out to the scene. A Police Scotland spokesman said the driver had been interviewed, but would not be charged.

It is understood the company lorry should have been on a different route at the time of the incident, not turning up Polton Road.

An insurance payout from the firm involved is expected to cover the damage.

Mr Howden said: “The vehicle is specially designed for carrying poles, but not as far out as he had it. The window is 15 feet up, to give you an idea of the height of the vehicle and his pole. It’s not a ground floor flat.”

Two vases that were family heirlooms and a bottle of Highland Park whiskey were also destroyed.