Prison for driver in horror crash

A DRINK-driver who was twice the limit when he caused a crash which left a teenage girl with horrific injuries has been jailed for 14 months.

Robert Walker had been “showing off” and driving at speed along narrow country lanes before smashing his car into a tree in Bedfield, near Framlingham, with such force that rear seat passenger Emily Millican was thrown out of the vehicle, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Paramedics found the 18-year-old Otley College student in a nearby field, off Dog Lane, with serious head injuries and she spent two weeks in intensive care and a total of six weeks in hospital following the accident in January.

Walker, 27, formerly of the Old Rectory in Bedfield, had spent the afternoon of Sunday January 24 drinking in the Crown and Anchor pub in Framlingham and ignored a barmaid who had served him four or five pints and advised him not to drive home, said Nicola May, prosecuting.

While at the pub he had met Miss Millican, of Rickinghall, near Diss, and another teenager and had invited them back to his house.

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Miss Millican had got into the rear of Walker’s powerful Subaru Impreza while the other teenager got into the front passenger seat.

To begin with Walker had driven normally but after leaving a 30mph speed limit he had accelerated and according to the front-seat passenger had reach speeds of up to 80mph, said Miss May.

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She said the passenger had told police that Walker appeared to be showing off and had accelerated so quickly that the passenger was pushed back into his seat. He told officers: “I felt uncomfortable. It was quick and it felt wrong.”

As they entered Dog Lane the front seat passenger warned Walker to be careful as the road was windy but Walker had told him: “Don’t worry, I know the road like the back of my hand.”

However, as Walker sped along the road the car clipped a bank and started veering from side to side as Walker tried to regain control before leaving the road and ploughing into a tree.

Miss May said that in addition to suffering serious head injuries Miss Millican had a fracture to her left arm and fractures to bones in her face.

Walker admitted dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving with excess alcohol. Jailing him for 14 months and banning him from driving for 30 months, Judge John Devaux said: “This was a case of prolonged bad driving at excessive speed.”

He said Miss Millican had been seriously injured in the accident and despite making a good recovery she still attended rehabilitation sessions and suffered headaches.

He said aggravating features of the case included Walker, who had no previous convictions, ignoring a warning from bar staff that he shouldn’t drive and showing off to his passengers. He ordered Walker to take an extended driving test.

Claire Hullock, mitigating, said her client had been under enormous strain at the time of the accident following the break-up of his parents’ 28-year marriage, the loss of his employment after the business he worked for went bankrupt and the end of his relationship with his fiancee.

She said Walker had been dependent on alcohol at the time of the offences and had been suffering from depression which led him to try to kill himself.

She said that following the accident he had wished he could turn back time and that he could have changed places with Miss Millican.

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