Spur-of-the-moment decision puts driver in jail

Posted on January 27th, 2016 by James Luckhurst

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Paul Walkden was driving his Ford Fusion on a wet road in Shropshire earlier this year. It was shortly after 7am when he attempted to overtake another car. However, he was unable to complete the manoeuvre as there was a car coming in the opposite direction. The driver of this car, Patricia Stanley, was trapped for 40 minutes after the impact and underwent 12 operations in the months that followed. She was left with hearing loss, a fractured pelvis, seven fractured ribs, multiple additional injuries and a permanent shortening of her right leg. She is now required to use a wheelchair. 

The prosecuting lawyer, Samantha Powis, prosecuting, said: “Another driver in front of the defendant said he saw the defendant’s car coming up behind from nowhere. The driver estimated the defendant was going about 50mph to 60mph. The defendant overtook the driver and as that happened there was a flash of lights in the other direction. The defendant tried to swerve but didn’t manage to complete the manoeuvre and wiped the other car out.”

The court was told Miss Stanley’s hip was still broken and she is awaiting a hip replacement. Miss Powis said: “The best case scenario is that she will be able to walk again with the help of sticks and hopes to get back to work. However she will never be able to go back to her previous position because of her reduced mobility. She had been a nurse for 31 years and had a spectacular career. She used to be very active and now at the age of 47 is currently confined to a wheelchair.”

Walkden was jailed for 19 weeks. His solicitor, Simon Warlock, said it had been a bad piece of driving. “It was a momentary lapse of concentration that left him in hospital for six weeks and he cannot return to work. He cannot use some fingers and has a lasting disability due to his own fault.”

Judge Peter Barrie told Walkden: “Miss Stanley is likely to be in permanent pain and has suffered profound and life-changing injuries. I know you have shown genuine and profound remorse.

Walkden was also disqualified from driving for three years and was told he must take an extended driving test before he is allowed to drive again.