Tuesday, March 27, 2012

HIT-RUN DRIVER WAS IN RUSH TO GET BENEFITS

A DRIVER who mowed down a woman on a pedestrian crossing and left her lying in the road as he rushed to sign on has been spared prison.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Balram Singh, 21, pictured below, narrowly missed the head of pedestrian Kate Allan after he knocked her down on Knole Lane, Brentry, in a car he should not even have been driving alone, as he was a learner driver, uninsured and had taken the car, belonging to a relative, without permission.

Bristol Crown Court heard Miss Allan, 23, had to move her head out of the way of the VW Polo's wheels.

Singh then ignored witnesses' pleas to stop and drove off to a benefits office where he was late to collect a job seeker's allowance payment.

The incident happened at about 10.30am on December 29 last year.

Prosecuting, Nadeem Aullybocus told the court Singh took the car from outside the family home at Mayfield Cottages, Cribbs Causeway, without permission. He only had a provisional licence at the time, meaning he was not supposed to drive unsupervised, and therefore was uninsured.

Miss Allan was waiting at a pelican crossing near the Crow Lane roundabout in Henbury. When the traffic lights went red and the green light for pedestrians lit up, she started to cross.

But Singh did not stop and Miss Allen ended up on the bonnet of the car, cracking the windscreen.

As the Polo continued forward Miss Allan was propelled onto the road.

As she writhed in pain she had the wherewithal to move her head out of harm's way, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, she said: "If I had not moved my head out of the way of the car he would have driven over me."

As the Polo was driven away a pedestrian and a driver who witnessed the crash both looked Singh in the eye and signalled for him to stop but he carried on. Meanwhile, Miss Allan was "screaming out in pain", Mr Aullybocus added.

The court heard he carried on to the benefits office, but was too late to collect his payment.

Police soon tracked Singh down and when they spoke to him he asked "how is the lady?".

When asked why he had not stopped after the crash, Mr Aullybocus said Singh told police: "I wanted to come home and look on the internet to see what would happen to me."

Miss Allan suffered pain in her right leg, neck, ribs and down the left side of her body. She was off work for two weeks but was still getting pain two months later.

Singh admitted aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop at a road accident, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

Mitigating, Rodney Wilson submitted a number of positive character references and said his client had shown genuine remorse.

Recorder of Bristol, Judge Neil Ford QC spared him from prison because of his lack of previous convictions, early guilty pleas and "genuine remorse".

He imposed an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years. Judge Ford disqualified Singh from driving for two years, ordered one year's supervision, 300 hours of unpaid work, a four-month curfew and Singh must pay Miss Allan £1,500 compensation.

HIT-RUN DRIVER WAS IN   RUSH  TO   GET BENEFITS

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