Richard Hammond's wife Mindy shocked at ‘secret' coma scream video


Mindy Hammond says she knew nothing of her husband Richard’s moving video

Mindy Hammond says she knew nothing of her husband Richard’s moving video (Image: GETTY)

Earlier this week Richard recalled a vivid dream he had while in the coma after his near-fatal crash in 2006 and said it was the loud screams of Mindy that pulled him back.

Richard, 52, made the emotional video while walking in the Lake District. He told how in his dream he was walking among the hills overlooking Buttermere and he sensed he was in trouble.

It was in that moment Richard had his ominous foreboding that Mindy, who was at his bedside, was told he might not wake up and began shouting. In his dream Richard said he then “turned back”. Soon after he opened his eyes.

S Magazine Columnist Mindy spoke of the “harrowing, horrible time” he lay motionless in his hospital bed and why she unleashed her ‘hysterical’ screams.

She also recalled moments of comedy when, after waking from his coma, Richard thought his wife was French.

Richard said it was the loud screams of Mindy that pulled him back

Richard said it was the loud screams of Mindy that pulled him back (Image: GETTY)

Mindy told the Sunday Express: “I knew he had been up there to do some filming, but he didn’t tell me he had done that (video),” said Mindy. “It was our daughter Izzy who saw it and told me about it. He probably forgot to tell me because he does that a lot! Immediately when he started talking I knew what was coming.”

And what was coming was a very powerful description of how, after his Vampire dragster crashed at 310mph while filming Top Gear and being on the brink of life and death, he could still hear his wife’s voice.

“It was a harrowing, horrible time,” says Mindy, 57. “The nurse had tried all these observations by prodding him and she was clearly getting nothing. And I remember saying to her ‘It’s bad, isn’t it?’ Because obviously things were going in the wrong direction, she started shouting ‘Richard, Richard’ at him. I said ‘Can I shout at him too?’

“I got really close to his face and shouted: ‘Richard, Richard, squeeze those bloody fingers. You’ve got to come back’. You are hysterical because you just know if you don’t get a response, the slide is starting. I was swearing at him. You would do anything.”

Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson

Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson (Image: GETTY)

Mindy says after the shouting and swearing, Richard’s index fingers made the most miniscule movement.

“And shortly after that he opened his eyes a fraction, as if he had briefly dipped his head over the parapet. I remember he looked at me for seconds, absolutely blank. He had no idea who I was.

“I went to the loo and absolutely sobbed because I thought ‘Where are you?’ I thought I actually don’t know what the outcome of this is going to be. I now know people come back from brain injury and look at their life and say ‘I don’t want this’. And look at their wife and think ‘I don’t want her either’! You just don’t know what you will get. I thought, ‘Is he ever going to know who I am’. That was hard.

“There was a funny moment though where he said ‘Oh you’re lovely but you are going to have to go because my wife is coming in a minute. You are lovely, but you’re not my wife. My wife is French!’”

At the time of the accident, Richard and Mindy’s children Izzy and Willow were just six and three. “I thought what do I do now? Is he going to be able to go back to work? What if he can’t walk again? It did throw our world up in the air.”

But Mindy was positive that he would pull through. The accident happened at the former RAF Elvington air base near York. The car’s front-right tyre failed, the car flipped over and Richard had to be cut out with hydraulic shears and was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.

“The minute I saw him when I first arrived at the hospital, even though he was plugged into everything and didn’t look very pretty, with a bulging eye and a lump in his forehead that made him look like a Klingon, I thought he would be alright.

“I thought if anyone is going to come back from this, he will because he’s an obstinate little whatsit. I had every faith.”

After coming out of the coma, he suffered from post-traumatic amnesia and a five-second memory. And it was months later that the couple talked about his dream and the incredible power of the brain.

Mindy revealed: “He said ‘You were shouting at me’ and he knew he was in trouble because I don’t normally get cross. To hear me bellowing at him was really unusual and serious.

“He remembered me shouting and it was an easy route he was walking. It was really hard to ‘come back’. It’s clearly a tremendous effort. The only way he could explain it was imagine being paralysed and you are on your stomach and have to grip with your fingers and haul yourself through.

“I think that’s why when people are in comas and they talk about pulling back, that is literally what you are doing. It is pure grit and determination.”

Richard made the video on What Next? on DriveTribe, his social media platform with Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Mindy says he wanted to give comfort to people who are going through a similar experience. And to show how vital it is to keep talking to seriously ill patients.

“I suppose it’s a kind of reassurance for him that he has dipped a toe – and went to his favourite place in the world. It’s to give comfort to anybody else, to say well you know I’ve kind of been there and it’s ok.

“And it shows that anybody in a serious condition can still hear you. It’s so important that you carry on communicating.”

Richard was back at work just months after the accident and Mindy admits it was too soon.

“Normally somebody with a severe brain injury would go back to work very slowly. Telly is not like that.

“We kept him at home, quiet, for as long as possible but then he was starting to get stir-crazy and actually his doctor said this is counterproductive now, for him to feel he is getting better, he needs to go to work. He had to go back in and it was very much choreographed. Everyone knew you just had to be a bit careful and for him not to overdo it.

“He went on The Jonathan Ross Show and when we went back again about a year later, he couldn’t remember appearing on it. It was probably too soon, to be honest.”

Since leaving Top Gear, Richard has worked on The Grand Tour with Clarkson and May as well as Richard Hammond’s Workshop on Discovery +, where Mindy appears. “I’m mostly just standing there saying ‘You’re an idiot’. That’s my role!”

It’s filmed near their home in Herefordshire which they share with daughters students Izzy, 22, and Willow, 19, and a menagerie of animals, which Mindy writes about every week in her column for S Magazine.

“One thing Richard and I have always said is you shouldn’t define yourself by something awful that happens,” says Mindy. “You deal with it, get on and move forward. It’s really counterproductive to hang on to it.

“Mind you, his memory is bloomin’ appalling. You think is that the brain injury or is that just you?!”

Mindy understands why Richard filmed the video where he did. Three years ago the couple bought a house in Buttermere and it’s Richard’s special place.

“He goes there more than I do. It’s his place really. He walks there a lot and this was going through his head. I suppose as we all get older, we lose people…

“It’s really good to share this to help others. If you’ve got someone that you are losing, it might give you some comfort.”


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