Parents Of Four-Year-Old Paralysed In Car Crash Hits Out At Driver's Sentence

Serious Injury Lawyers Now Working To Provide Lifetime Of Specialist Care For Young North East Victim

24.06.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The parents of a four-year-old girl who was left fighting for her life when the family car was hit from behind say they are ‘incredibly disappointed’ as the driver responsible for the crash was sentenced to just £250 and six penalty points on his licence at court today.

Young Jessica Bootes has been left paralysed down her right side by the devastating five-car crash on 4 March this year at the Lindisfarne Roundabout in Jarrow and is still currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Her parents Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrock, from Harton, South Shields, instructed specialist serious injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help secure vital funds to help with her daughter’s rehabilitation from her injuries and to try to maximise her recovery.

Today (24 June) the driver responsible, 35-year-old Amir Azaz pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and was sentenced at South Tyneside Magistrates Court but Lisa says that in her view the sentence is ‘inadequate’ in comparison to what her daughter has suffered.

Lisa said: “We are so thankful that Jessica has survived but the past four months have been a nightmare “We attended South Tyneside Magistrates court today with the anticipation that we would get justice for Jessica. However, whilst we understand that the magistrates are limited by statute and sentencing guidelines, we feel that the sentence imposed for the early guilty plea by the defendant of only a £250 fine and six penalty points, is woefully inadequate; especially when you take into account that the sentence imposed on our beloved Jessica is for life.

“Even at court today after the victim personal statements were read out in full, we don’t believe the defendant showed any remorse or compassion but it would have helped all of us had he done so.

“I just don’t believe this sentence sends out the right message to help prevent accidents. A stronger sentence would show all drivers that they have to take more responsibility for their actions on the roads.”

Jessica is now in a wheelchair and is only able to get out of it with the use of a specially made leg splint, training shoes and helmet. She has no use of her right arm, her speech now is limited to single words and the family has also found out this week that she has lost the sight in her right eye.

Lisa added: “Jessica was due to start school in September but now it’s like she is back to square one having to learn how to talk and communicate all over again. She is being very brave but it’s very tough to deal with.

"Since the 4th March when Jessica's collision occurred, we as a family have suffered deeply and have struggled to come to terms with the very serious head injuries that were inflicted on our beautiful daughter.

“We had to endure an almost hour by hour trauma of wondering whether Jessica would survive her injuries but thankfully due to the skill and professionalism of the staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary PICU, Jessica pulled through. The staff gave us a first class service, each and every one of them were fantastic as were the staff on Ward 1B.”

Jessica was travelling in the back of the family’s car with her mother and Jessica’s father Chris Bootes when it was hit from behind by a vehicle being driven by Mr Azaz.

After the crash Jessica was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where she was placed in an induced coma for 11 days and given a blood transfusion. She also underwent emergency surgery to repair a damaged skull

In future Jessica will need specialist rehabilitation, therapy and equipment to help live her life and the family’s expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are working on the civil case to secure vital funds.

John Davis, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family said:

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