A couple's dream wedding in Crete turned into a nightmare after a horror car crash on the way to the ceremony left the groom's best man and his wife in hospital.
Newlyweds Leon and Kirsty King described their "week from hell" after pal, Dean Fitton and his wife, Gemma were rushed to hospital with multiple injuries following the smash that “should have killed someone.”
But Dean, who has been best pals with Leon for 30 years, shouted from the ambulance telling Leon to press ahead after already having to cancel their big day once due to Covid.
Their bad luck didn't end there as when Leon and Kirsty returned home to Kent, their car containing Dean and Gemma's luggage, inexplicably burst into flames outside his home in the night.
"It was a long week of hell," said Leon.
"We spent the week travelling back and forth from hospital, before we flew home.
“The best man and his wife had to take an air ambulance and now she's in Pembury Hospital with a back injury."
Leon had been at the front of the wedding convoy of five cars on Thursday, May 19 and was only around eight minutes away from the venue when he saw a car approaching them on the other side of the road.
He said: "A car came at us at speed and hit the fourth car along in the convoy. It hit it and spun it onto the other side of the road.
"I saw it in my rear view mirror. I just saw the car in front swerve and then the impact."
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Leon, 40 turned around to find his friend's car on the side of the road "smashed to pieces" but described the fire service response as "atrocious."
"They attended to the other vehicle first, which the people had walked out of. My best man's wife was just dragged out of the car.
“Over here they would take the roof off and lift them out, but they just dragged them out."
Despite Dean's pleas for the wedding to ahead, Leon followed the ambulance to hospital, where he said the nightmare continued.
"I will never say anything about the NHS again, because our medical system is so much better," he said.
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But after finding out Dean and Gemma were stable, Leon and Kirsty exhanged their vows but the accident had cast a shadow on their big day.
"Everyone was still quite emotional. We were concerned about my friend's wife and her spine. We were all very concerned.
"It's been very stressful.
He added: “We barely just got through the wedding ceremony because everyone was very distressed and upset."
Dad-of-four Dean, 40, who lives with Gemma in Kent said the week had got off to a good start before the head-on smash.
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"We headed over to the venue in convoy but along the way something went wrong with the car in front – a wheel cap came off and we ended up switching positions," Dean recalled.
"I ended up moving forward one, but I'm glad that we did, because the car that was in that position was lighter than ours and there was a 15-month-old child in it.
"I don't know if they would have survived, and there would have been more injuries because there was more people in there.
"It was a killer of a crash. It should have killed someone."
Dean was unable to walk and he had to be helped from the car, but his wife had suffered even more severe injuries including a fractured wrist and vertebrae.
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Dean said he was relieved when his travel insurance firm arranged for Gemma, 38 to be taken to a private hospital, where the care was "out of this world".
He said: "It's a lesson in getting good insurance."
Although recovering at Pembury, it's not yet known when Gemma will be allowed home and Dean said she remains mentally scarred by the experience.
However he is determined to look on the bright side.
"I wouldn't change it. Leon is my friend of over 30 years and we've been through a hell of a lot together.
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"We're like brothers. I would go anywhere he needed me to go.
"We were sad that it happened to us but honestly we're glad it was us and not the other car, because there was more people in there.
"We're not bitter because it could have been so much worse."
Leon was simply glad everyone survived when he returned home- only for his car to explode into flames that night.
"Having the car catch fire has just compounded everything.
"I just can't see how this has all happened in the space of a week.”
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