A FORMER special constable, who lost a leg when a Worcester driver crashed into him, has spoken out after being ‘threatened and abused’ for using disabled parking bays by people who can't see his disability.

Ben Perry, 26, created this image in Photoshop to show how different he can look depending on what aids he uses and how he is dressed.

Mr Perry said: “Unfortunately it is a common occurrence that people will have a go at me when parking in a disabled space, particularly if I’m wearing trousers or if I’m in my work clothes.

“I often get confronted about parking in a disabled space, people will threaten to report me to the police or the council, threaten to report me to my employer and I’ve even had people threaten to damage my car.

“The fact of the matter is, that without being able to open my door fully, I’m physically unable to get in and out of my car as I’m unable to swing my leg in and out. I have a blue badge so I’m parked legally.

“There have even been a couple of occasions where I’ve been accused of stealing a badge to park in a disabled space.

“A lot of the time, people just see a young lad in a nice car and assume that I’m parking there to be an idiot but this couldn’t be any further from the truth.

“I try not to let it get to me but when people make threats and threaten to damage my car it can be quite frustrating and makes me feel like I have no choice but to prove I have one leg in order to prevent anything else.

“My aim is to raise awareness that disabilities come in all forms and can affect young and old people. I made the picture up to show to people that people can be disabled even if it isn’t obvious to an ‘outsider’.”

Mr Perry, who now works as a traffic signal installation technician, lost his leg in 2018. While off-duty, the Droitwich special constable pulled over on the M42 on March 9 to help another driver following an accident, when Khadeja Perwez ploughed into him.

Perwez, from Worcester, had been driving at excessive speed for the wet road conditions - around 70mph - despite illuminated warnings that drivers should reduce their speed to 50mph, and also had two rear tyres under-inflated and under the minimum tread depth.

The driver of an Audi TT had aquaplaned into the central reservation and ended up facing the wrong way in the fast lane before driving onto the hard shoulder.

Mr Perry, a qualified lighting engineer, special constable and police community support officer, stopped to help, putting on a fluorescent yellow jacket and placing an orange flashing beacon on the roof of his Ford Focus. He was standing by the boot when he was struck by Perwez who aquaplaned into him in her BMW.

Mr Perry said in a victim impact statement: “I looked down and saw that my leg had gone and it was just a fleshy mess.”

He described screaming in pain and his vision beginning to blur but remembered seeing the still flashing beacon hanging off his car roof.

What remained of his right leg was amputated below the knee and he had to have several abridgement operations to shorten the stump. He spent 23 weeks in hospital and suffered anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Mr Perry said at the time: “I have been struggling with suicidal thoughts and have attempted to take my own life on one occasion.”

Perwez, then 25, admitted careless driving and driving with defective tyres and was fined £1,000 and banned from driving for nine months.

Now Mr Perry, who lives in Bromsgrove, says he has come to terms with his ‘differently-abled body.’

He said: “I still struggle with vivid flashbacks and nightmares from the incident and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. With regards to my disability, I can struggle with day to day things but I have tried to adjust my lifestyle to suit this - I would say that instead of disabled, I’m differently-abled.

“There are a lot of things that I used to enjoy doing before the crash which I can no longer do and I get frustrated and upset at that, so when I get confronted for parking in a disabled space, it can be quite upsetting, especially as I didn’t choose to lose my leg and it was something that could’ve been prevented had the driver who hit me maintained her vehicle properly.

“This is why it is so important to me to be a voice for people with disabilities.”

Have you experienced abuse for parking in a disabled bay? Let us know, we would love to hear your story.