A MAN says he was “inches from death” after his car was wrecked at a petrol station forecourt.

Donald Hansford, 80, drove his Jaguar XJ8 to Red Eagle Fuel Supplies, Blandford Road North, Upton, on Saturday at around 9.30am.

The former paratrooper said after paying for £20 of petrol and driving away from the pumps he was left stunned when he claims a heavy metal gate smashed into his vehicle.

“There was a hell of a crash and I wondered what it was,” he added. “I was very shocked.”

“I was covered in glass, the windscreen exploded on impact and my cheek cracked.

“The road was clear so I couldn’t understand what had happened.

“I had gone in there with a beautiful car and I came out in an ambulance.”

Mr Hansford was then taken to hospital for treatment, where he received X-rays and had shards of glass removed from his ears.

The mechanic, who has worked with cars for 50 years and now specialises in Jaguars, said he has been left struggling to sleep since the incident.

“Another inch or two and I would have been dead,” added Mr Hansford.

“When my family saw the state of the car they told me I was lucky to be alive.”

Despite the injuries he sustained, the widower said it was the damage to the 11-year-old car, which was previously in immaculate condition and worth around £3,000, which had been most upsetting.

Sean Stacey, who runs Red Eagle Fuel Supplies, said he had served Mr Hansford moments before the crash.

“I just heard this almighty crash and we ran straight out to help,” he added.

“I am not sure exactly what happened. I haven’t seen anything like it before.

“He is really badly shaken up and I have been to visit him since the incident. We are all shocked. Donald has been coming to us for years and I know that his Jaguar is his pride and joy.”

Mr Stacey said the matter was now in the hands of insurance company.