Incident Occurred In August 2017 Which Left Man A Tetraplegic
A retired Blackburn man who suffered a serious spinal injury when he was hit by a car while walking his dog has spoken of his relief after the driver was sentenced at Preston Crown Court.
Wilfred Walker, 70 from Great Harwood, was walking his dog on Blackburn Road on 17th August last year, shortly before 9pm when the accident happened and left Wilfred with catastrophic injuries that mean he is now wheelchair dependent.
Wilfred spent five weeks at The Royal Preston Hospital following the accident, before being moved to The North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport Hospital.
At Preston Crown Court, Jake Smith, 22, of Wharf Street, Rishton, was given a custodial sentence of three years after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was found to have cannabis in his system at illegal levels.
When sentencing the Judge said that “no sentence long or short would measure the damage done to Mr Walker.”
The court was told that Wilfred is affected by paralysis and sensory loss from the shoulders down in all four limbs and needs care in all aspects of his life. A victim personal statement from Wilfred, which gave graphic details of how he needs help, was read out.
Wilfred said: “My life has been ruined due to the fault of a stupid selfish driver who had taken drugs and was in a vehicle that was not road-worthy. I am angry and frustrated and now completely helpless.
“I hope he never finds himself in my situation. It is something I would never wish on my worst enemy.”
After the accident Wilfred and his wife, Janette, instructed specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to support them as they look to ensure Wilfred has access to the support he needs for his rehabilitation.
Cathy Leech, a Partner and serious injury specialist at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office representing the Wilfred, said:
Expert Opinion“This is an incredibly sad example of the life-changing consequences of dangerous driving.
“As experts in spinal cord injuries we see the devastating impact that dangerous driving can have on those who are victims of it on a regular basis. It was telling to hear the judge suggest that this graphic CCTV footage should be shown to young drivers nationwide, as it highlights the damage that can be done. It is shocking to see it on film.
“We will continue to work with Wilfred and Janette to ensure they have the support they need as Wilfred continues with his rehabilitation.” Catherine Leech - Partner
During the sentencing, it was heard that Smith was driving at 57mph in a build-up area where the speed limit was 30mph. CCTV footage of the collision was shown which showed this excessive speed.
Wilfred’s wife, Janette Walker, said: “The day of the accident is the worst day of my life. When I saw him lying in the road after he had been hit, I thought he had died and that my world had come to an end.
“His injuries have had a profound effect on all the family. We have had work done on the house so it is adapted for his needs. We need to ensure he has a special bed, a hoist and other equipment to help him move about the house.
“The family accepts today’s sentence and we are pleased the judge has given the highest sentence possible highlighting the grievous nature of the injuries Wilf suffered. We now want to look to the future putting our energy into Wilf’s rehabilitation and recovery.”
Read about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in road accident cases.