Family Devastated By Smash Crash
A group of three wedding guests – including the bride and groom - who were injured when their taxi collided head on with a car driven by Linford Christie, have spoken out after the Olympic athlete was today fined and banned from driving for 15 months.
Christie had been facing a dangerous driving charge, which can carry a much stiffer sentence of up to two years imprisonment, but he was instead found guilty of the alternative charge of careless driving.
The jury at Aylesbury Crown Court heard that Christie (51) had been driving along the A413 in Chalfont St Peter on the wrong side of the road when the accident happened.
The bride’s uncle, Michael Burt, (61) from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, who was left with serious head and facial injuries as a result of the collision, said: “I’m very disappointed at the outcome. I have to live with the serious injuries that Christie caused. I suffered multiple fractures and damage to my face, which were so severe that I now have several metal plates holding my skull together.”
Road accident legal specialists at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, who represent Mr Burt along with bride and groom, Claire and Peter Ashton who were also injured in the accident, have confirmed that separate civil claims against Christie are ongoing.
Bride, Claire Lloyd-Ashton (43) from Gerrards Cross, Bucks, commented: “Whilst we have many happy memories of the wedding day, it has been tainted by the accident and our wedding night was completely ruined. Instead of spending the first night of our married lives at a nearby hotel where champagne and roses were waiting for us, we spent it in A&E.”
Groom, Peter Ashton (58) suffered whiplash, a punctured lung and four broken ribs during the collision whilst Claire suffered bruising to her chest, pelvis and legs as well as soft tissue damage to both knees which still require physiotherapy.
Claire and Peter, along with Michael Burt, had been returning to a nearby hotel, from their evening wedding reception at the Merlin’s Cave pub in Chalfont St Giles, shortly before midnight on Saturday 8th May 2010 when the accident happened on the A413 between Chalfont St Peter and Chalfont St Giles, Bucks.
Taxi driver, Naeem Akhtar, was also seriously injured in the head-on collision. His Mercedes E220 minicab was written off in the collision, while Christie’s Audi A8 – which sports the personalised number plate ‘100 RUN’ - was damaged at the front.
Kate Campbell, a solicitor with law firm Irwin Mitchell, who specialises in serious injuries involving road traffic accidents, said: “Our clients have suffered both physical and mental trauma as a result of the collision. Mr Burt in particular, was very seriously injured. He spent almost four weeks in hospital undergoing reconstructive surgery to his face and recovering from multiple fractures to his hip, leg and spine. He still bears the physical scars of the collision and is likely to require further treatment in the future.
“Now that today’s criminal prosecution has concluded, we hope that the defendant’s lawyers will work with us to resolve the civil action as quickly as possible to minimise any further distress to Mr Burt and Mr & Mrs Ashton.”