A teenage girl suffered devastating injuries when a young driver smashed into a tree while deliberately trying to scare her by speeding along a twisting narrow country lane.
The girl cannot leave her home unaccompanied because a consequence of the spinal injury she suffered in the crash is that her legs regularly give way beneath her.
She has had to give up college and her hopes of becoming a mechanic – and has distressingly been told by a doctor that she cannot have children, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Adam Woodcock (20) of St Chads Road, Bishops Tachbrook, was jailed for 16 months after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said the charge follows a crash at around 9pm on the evening of November 10 last year.
“It was dark, and Beausale Lane, a country lane near Warwick, is a twisty, narrow lane. It is well-known as a hazardous road, particularly at night.”
On that evening Woodcock was driving his Vauxhall Corsa, to which he had carried out a number of modifications to make it seem more sporty than it was, with the girl next to him and two boys in the back.
There was loud music playing, and as they headed towards Beausale Lane he told them: “I’m going to take you down this really scary road that everyone s**ts themselves at.”
Woodcock then began racing along Beausale Lane in excess of the speed limit and in damp conditions as one of the boys filmed it on his mobile phone, which was played in court.
At one point he lost control of the car and skidded on a bend, but continued to drive in the same way – and the second time he lost control, he hit a tree to the left side of the road.
After the crash all four of them got out and ran a short distance from the car before the girl, who cannot be named because of her age, found herself unable to stand or even sit because she was in such extreme pain, and she curled up on the ground.
Despite her obviously severe injuries, Woodward, who was ‘extremely concerned about his car, on which he had spent a lot of money on the modifications,’ did not want to call the police – and it was one of the boys who did so.
They were taken to hospital, and although the boys were discharged the next day, the girl remained in an induced coma for five days.
She had a perforated bowel which required surgery and led to her developing sepsis, and a fractured vertebra which left her spine damaged to the extent that she was in a back brace for five months and had to learn to walk again.
The impact on the girl, who will require further surgery when she has finished growing, has been ‘utterly devastating.’
“She requires 24-hour care from her mother, and is not allowed to leave home unattended, on doctor’s orders, because there is difficulty with her brain communicating with her spinal cord, and her legs give way regularly,” explained Mr Simpson.
The girl can no longer attend college because of that, with her hope of becoming a mechanic being taken away – and she and her mother were told the sepsis has left her unable to have children.
Recorder William Edis QC observed: “It is difficult to imagine a more significant injury to a young woman of her age.”
Mr Simpson added: “She and her family have had no expression of remorse at all from the defendant, no apology.”
Queenie Djan, defending, said: “He is a young man of good character. This is his very first interaction wit the criminal justice system.
“Mr Woodcock has great remorse and great regret for his actions on that night. He is struggling, and is broken by the devastation and hurt he has brought on that family as a result of what he’s done.
“He knows it will never be enough, but extends his sincerest apologies to the family.”
Recorder Edis commented: “I don’t doubt, whether he expressed it to the family or not, that he is remorseful.
“He was a typical 19-year-old with more testosterone than common sense. He was showing off. The only reason he went on that twisty single-track road was to scare his passengers.”
And he told Woodcock: “The driving you indulged in was premeditated and deliberate.
“You deliberately drove down a lane, knowing it would be dangerous, at speeds which were wholly inappropriate resulting in what I consider a predictable outcome.
“Some people do like to seek thrills, but where the big dipper is regularly inspected by health and safety, this was a country lane, in the dark, surrounded by solid objects such as trees, and you were going far too fast.
“You lost control, and your car slammed at some speed into a tree. All of you got out, and your initial thought was that none of you had suffered serious injury.
“That tragically was not the case, because [the girl] has suffered permanent, life-changing injuries. Her entire life has been altered for the worse.
“She has become as reliant on her family as she ever has been – and that is your fault because you drove catastrophically dangerously. No sentence other than immediate detention seems to me to be appropriate.”