Westhorpe mother ‘glad’ crash driver was punished

Supplied by CPS East of England

Supplied by CPS East of England

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A mother-of-two who suffered ‘serious injuries’ because a driver failed to clear snow from his windscreen has said she is glad he has been punished.

Sheep and cattle farmer Nesta Hartley required three operations and plastic surgery following the incident on January 15.

She was loading sheep onto a lorry in Church Road, Westhorpe, when, just before 10am, she ‘heard a loud crash and felt a lot of pain’.

Peter Keith Dawson’s Mercedes had collided with the metal sheep hurdle she was holding, knocking her to the floor and trapping her legs under the car, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday.

She suffered two broken ankles and a broken leg, and had to have plastic surgery to repair a deep laceration in her leg, through which the bone was visible.

Dawson, 66, of Westhorpe, received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to driving dangerously.

Mrs Hartley said: “I’m glad he’s been punished because he was an idiot to do what he did, but it’s not going to make my legs feel any different”

“On that day I was working with young 19/20-year-old lads, doing the same heavy work as them, and since that day I haven’t been able to do that at all.”

Lesla Small, prosecuting, told the court Mrs Hartley had been wheelchair-bound for months and still used a walking frame.

As well as finding the wheelchair difficult to use, it made her feel ‘very self conscious’ and had led to her becoming bored while ‘stuck in the house for long periods’.

She slept in her dining room, unable to shower properly for three months, had to employ someone to help out on the farm and, despite being a keen horse rider, had to give up her horse, said Miss Small.

Through a statement read to the court, Mrs Hartley said: “It has affected me, my family and the business and could have easily been avoided if he’d taken the time to clear the windscreen correctly.”

In mitigation, Claire Lockwood said Dawson had sprayed de-icer and cleared the driver’s side before setting off for a doctor’s appointment.

He had been about to pull over to clear the windscreen again when ‘to his horror’ the accident occurred, she said.

Dawson received a 26 week prison sentence suspended for two years, 210 hours unpaid work and a two year driving ban.

He was ordered to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £80.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Hartley said: “People say I’m lucky to be alive but I wasn’t lucky to be run over in the first place because we were doing nothing wrong.

“I don’t know when I’ll be as I was before, if I’ll be as I was before. I can’t believe how one day something that happens to you can change everything completely.”