Drink-drive victim’s pain

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Brave Mutsuko Morisue was in court on Monday to face down the hopeless drink-driver who almost killed her.

The Japanese Queenstowner, 42, needed emergency brain surgery after Nicholas Catlin – three times the drink-drive limit and speeding – mowed her down.

He lost control of his Subaru Impreza and mounted the pavement outside the Copthorne Hotel, on March 3, where Morisue, who works at The Rees Hotel, was standing holding her bike, wearing her helmet and chatting to her friend.

The impact has had devastating consequences.

A traumatic brain injury – a large bleed and bruising inside her skull. Complex facial fractures. Injury to her left eye. Serious bruising to her body.

She spent two months in hospital and still suffers blurred vision, dizziness, acute anxiety, tiredness, and has trouble sleeping – even a visit to the library is daunting and difficult.

She has “no memory” of the accident and can’t move or function at the same level as before. She doubts she’ll ever ride a bike on the road again.

When she met Catlin for the first time, on May 31, she told him about the impact his actions had on her. He responded: “I am sorry there is nothing I can say or do, I am sorry.”

Morisue, in court, labels his apologies “very shallow”.

She considers luck played a major part in her surviving at all. It was, however, “so unfair”, she told him.

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and I have to face it, every single day.”

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz