By Paul Thornton, Christine Lavelle, Cara Sulieman & Martin Graham
A CAR ploughed into a newly-wed Scots couple just days into their romantic Italian honeymoon.
John and Nicola Tams, both 31, from Bonnyrigg in Midlothian, were leaving a restaurant in Sorrento when a driver appears to have lost control of his car and mounted a pavement, driving straight at the couple.
John suffered the full impact of the collision while Nicola was left with broken bones.
They were battling to treat serious head wounds, facial injuries, smashed ribs and a broken leg.
Doctors also had to attach him to a ventilator machine to help him breathe, but friends said he had improved enough to begin breathing on his own again and was responding to sounds.
Nicola suffered broken ribs and shock, but was today (thurs) released by doctors before staying at John’s bedside.
Her dad Kenny Mackay has flown from his home in Edinburgh to be with her.
John’s parents Ann and Charles were also understood to have flown out along with his best man, Tony.
In a phone call home, Nicola told mum Angela: “We were just on the pavement and holding hands when the driver mounted the kerb and just went into us.
“The driver was just a young boy and the police arrested him.
“It happened just outside our hotel, and all the staff were marvellous, they visited me and are putting everyone up.
“The traffic is shocking, it is really dangerous, I just want to warn people.”
The shocking news was broken to Angela, 51, and dad Kenny, 59, shortly after 8am on Friday morning when a holiday travel rep allowed Nicola use of a mobile phone to call home.
Mrs Mackay said: “She was in such a dreadful state, she had to hand over to the rep because she was so upset.
“She just told me that Nicola was injured with broken ribs and that John had head injuries.
“I called Kenny at his work and he came straight home and called the British Consul for details.
“They gave us a number for the hospital where John had been taken and we spoke to an English speaking doctor. She just went over all his injuries and said that with the serious head injuries, the family go out.
“It was Saturday that Kenny, Charles and Ann flow out. I’m going on Tuesday.”
She has been holding the fort at home keeping relatives and friends up to date with news from twice daily calls to Naples.
But she will join her daughter in Italy on Tuesday when John’s parents Ann and Charles and her husband Kenny are due to come home.
Until then she is just trying to come to terms with what happened.
She said: “What words could you say when you get that phone call.
“It was unreal because we were all on such a high from the wedding because it was such a brilliant day.
“She looked stunning, the hotel was fantastic, it was a big white wedding.
“They went on honeymoon the Monday after their wedding. I heard from her on Tuesday to say they had arrived and that the hotel was lovely.
“She said they were going for a walk about.
“From getting a call to say that they had arrived and everything was so beautiful the next call was like the end of her world.
“Nobody wants a phone call like that.”
But she said the word from the hospital yesterday (thurs) had been encouraging.
She said: “Today was the first response from John. He was in a coma, but moved his head slightly and moved his hand and managed to say something – I don’t know what.
“Nicola was just on a high.
“But she thinks they will have weeks of this before they are able to bring John home.
“He has a broken leg and pelvis, and chest injuries. He’s also got lung injuries and face injuries.
“The doctor said straight away that he was young and healthy and that he would fight it.
“Nicola has four broken ribs but her main concern is for John.
“She was told today that it’s going to take a long time.
“But she is prepared for that.
“She just wants to thank all their friends and everyone for all their messages of support.”
The couple had wed in a romantic ceremony attended by family and friends at Edinburgh’s Minto Hotel on Saturday, July 3, and had their official wedding party photographs taken on Arthur’s Seat.
They flew out on honeymoon on Monday, July 5, which co-incided with John’s holiday from his day job as a school craft and design teacher.
Nicola, a care worker originally from Edinburgh, was said to be beside herself with shock at the horror.
But friends of the amateur footballer, who plays for supporters club Real Hearts, were rallying to their aid.
A statement from his team-mates said: “Real Maroon is greatly distressed to hear of an accident involving long-serving player John Tams and his wife Nicola on their honeymoon in Naples.
“The club wishes John and Nicola every good wish and positive thought for their quick and full recovery in Italy and thanks the Italian authorities for looking after them since the incident occurred.
“Real Maroon is much encouraged to hear of progress with John’s condition day on day, and is delighted to report that Nicola has now been discharged from hospital.
“However the club understands the road may be a long one for John and his family and as such fundraising to support them is of paramount importance to all at Real Maroon.
“The club hopes to announce events to raise money to support John and his family very soon.
“No-one who ever stepped on to a pitch with John Tams ever forgot the skill and joy with which he plays the game, nor will they forget the smiles, jokes and compassion of the man off it.
“Real Maroon’s every thought is with him, Nicola and their families in Naples now and we hope to see him back home as soon as possible.
“Please help our fundraising efforts to keep John Tams’s family at his side and support his recovery by giving what you can to our appeal.”
A special fund has been set up by Mr Tams’ team-mates to help pay for flights and accommodation for relatives to be with them.
One of his team-mates said: “You will never meet a nicer guy than John. The boy is a fighter and a winner, these qualities will see him through.”
Locals at their home in Bonnyrigg were also stunned at the news.
Next door neighbour Kirsty Rankin, 25, said she was horrified to hear the news about the young couple.
The student said: “That’s horrible, it is such a shame on thier honeymoon as well.
“They have always been nice enough to me, they seem like a really nice couple.
“I didn’t even know they had gotten married, it makes you wish you knew your neighbours better.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of the hospilalisation of two British nationals. Their next of kin have been informed and are ready to provide full consular assistance.
“There is no update from the local authorities to this case at this time.”
To donate to the appeal visit: www.clubwebsite.co.uk/realmaroon.
CLICK THE LINK ABOVE TO FIND OUT TO HELP WITH FUNDRAISING FOR THE FAMILY