A man who survived a car crash so horrific that medics say his head was effectively torn from his spine has fulfilled his dying wish – to marry his girlfriend.

Tom Cowan’s car spun out of control three years ago and he was injured so badly that doctors said he never should have survived. However, Mr Cowan, 31, from County Durham, fought to live so he could be with his long term partner Karen Dawson.

However, at the end of the year, he was in so much pain that he decided he was ready to turn off his life support machine – but only after he married the love of his life.

Heartbroken Karen, 29, has revealed that the pair wed four days before his ventilator was turned off, in a private ceremony witnessed by loved ones. She said it was a happy and sad occasion because both of them knew what was going to happen afterwards.

Caring hospital staff decorated their room, and Karen dressed casually in jeans and a new blouse purchased for the poignant occasion.

Wedding brought forward

The devoted couple had booked their ceremony to take place in May, but Tony was in too much pain to carry on and their wedding was brought forward. After passing away, Tony was laid to rest beside the wedding dress Karen planned to wear.

Karen became Tony’s full time carer after the crash, looking after him at home. However, he battled with a number of complications, including chest infections and pneumonia.
Up until then, she said they tried to live as normal a life as possible at home together, watching movies and ordering takeaways as any other couple would. She said she was incredibly proud of her husband, who was strong and determined, but could simply no longer carry on in the pain he was suffering.