Driver apologises for

A DRIVER has apologised for his involvement in a "very tragic accident" that left a 16-year-old girl fighting for her life with severe brain injuries.Simon Bowyer told magistrates he was "sorry" for both Deborah Parkes and her family, who have endured months of agony since November's incident which saw the teenager thrown through a brick wall.

A DRIVER has apologised for his involvement in a "very tragic accident" that left a 16-year-old girl fighting for her life with severe brain injuries.

Simon Bowyer told magistrates he was "sorry" for both Deborah Parkes and her family, who have endured months of agony since November's incident which saw the teenager thrown through a brick wall.

During yesterday's hearing, Bowyer, 32, of Lapwing Court, Mildenhall, pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention. He was handed a £200 fine and nine penalty points and ordered to pay £35 in costs.

"I am sorry for the family and for Deborah. This was a very tragic accident and there is nothing else that I can say," he told magistrates sitting in Mildenhall.


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Paul Forshaw, prosecuting, told the court Bowyer had been travelling on Turnpike Road in Red Lodge on November 17 when he positioned himself in the nearside lane of the three-lane carriageway to make a right turn.

A van, which had been travelling behind Bowyer's car, approached from the rear and pulled out to overtake, but Bowyer turned right, and the two vehicles collided.

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Bowyer attempted to swerve, but the van left the road and mounted the pavement.

It struck Debs – as she is known to family and friends – who was pushed through a wall and into a garden, suffering major injuries that led to her spending months in a coma.

"The van then went back on to the road and came to rest on the other side," said Mr Forshaw.

"The [van] driver stated that there was no indicator on to show Mr Bowyer's intentions."

In an interview, Bowyer said he had checked his rear view mirror but failed to look over his shoulder, although he felt he had been driving carefully.

Mr Forshaw said: "This was a serious road traffic accident, and Deborah Parkes has suffered serious, life-changing injuries, the full extent of which may not be known for a while."

Chairman of the bench, John Ankers, said: "This was a serious accident, but our guidelines restrict us to certain measures that we can take."

Speaking afterwards, Debs' father Simon, who wept quietly during the hearing, said: "It is the way the law is and the magistrates did the best that they could do."

His wife Wendy said the teenager, who celebrated her 17th birthday in hospital, was making remarkable progress at London's Northwick Park Hospital, and now has a much stronger memory.

"We have got to live with this day-by-day, hour-by-hour, and it has had such a knock-on-effect on the whole family," she said.

The couple revealed they are now in danger of losing their Red Lodge home because Mr Parkes has been out of work since his daughter's accident and they are unable to afford their mortgage repayments.

Mrs Parkes added: "This has devastated our whole family, but we have just got to live with it. Debs will be in hospital for the foreseeable future, but we never thought she would even get as far as she has, and we just have to take things one step at a time."

Last month the EADT launched a campaign to send Debs and her family on a holiday of a lifetime to America, as soon as doctors say she was well enough to travel.

However, because of the extent of Debs' injuries, the money could instead be used to help pay for a specially adapted vehicle to accommodate the teenager's wheelchair.

Money for the Debbie's Dream Appeal can be paid into any branch of Barclays Bank, using the sort code 20 16 12, and the account number 70513555.

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