A road rage driver has been jailed for ten years for deliberately mowing down and crushing a woman who tried to stop his car.
Luke Geard drove off after causing 59-year-old Helen Thorne horrific injuries that left her in hospital for three months and have left her unable to walk more than a few yards.
She stood in front of his customised BMW X5 after it hit a parked car outside her home in Axminster but he drove over her, crushing her against a parked car and forcing her under his wheels.
Geard had drunk at least eight pints in a five-hour pub crawl and was in a foul mood after arguing with his girlfriend because she tried to prevent him drinking and driving.
He carried on driving after running over care worker Mrs Thorne and had another crash during an 16 mile, 40 minute drive to get a takeaway kebab.
He tried to lie his way out of trouble by claiming someone else was driving and reacted callously when police told him of Mrs Thorne’s horrific injuries. He said “That’s not my problem, I can’t give a f***.”
Geard, aged 31, of Hill Crest, Kilmington, denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent but was found guilty at a trial at Exeter Crown Court last month. He admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, dangerous driving assaulting an emergency worker, and refusing to supply a sample of breath or blood.
He was jailed for ten years and banned from driving for three years after his release by Judge David Evans, who ordered the seizure of his BMW.
He told him: “You must have seen Mrs Thorne perfectly well. She was just in front of your car when you drove at her. You must have seen her gesticulating, remonstrating and seeking to stop you from driving away.
“She was seeking to get you to remain at the scene to deal properly with you just having collided with a parked car. It was your intention to drive away. Doubtless, you were aware that you were significantly under the influence, having at least eight pints.
“You no doubt hoped to evade responsibility and set off on a 16 mile round trip with a purpose as banal as getting a kebab.”
Mrs Thorne suffered horrific injuries in the crash outside her home in Sector Lane, Axminster on June 22, 2022. Her hip was shattered, there was a tyre mark over her leg, and a chunk of flesh was ripped off by the impact.
Virtually every bone in her right leg, from foot to hip had been broken. She remained in hospital for three months and was only able to walk with a Zimmer frame after being discharged.
She said in a victim personal statement that she could no longer enjoy long coastal walks with her family or holidays abroad because she has to use a wheelchair for all but the shortest journeys.
She wrote: “It makes me emotional when I think how much of my life I have lost.”
Geard had been drinking at the George Hotel and Red Lion pubs before being filmed on CCTV staggering to his car with a woman who he dropped off near the crash scene.
Mr Stephen Nunn, for Geard, said he had little recollection of the night and had never intended to cause the terrible injuries. He said Geard now realises he has a problem with alcohol and is seeking help.
After the case Detective Constable Ed Mitchell, who led the investigation, said: “We welcome the sentencing today and I hope this brings about a sense of justice for the victim. This was an unprovoked attack resulting in life-changing injuries.
“The victim spent months in hospital, needing to learn to walk again. This has had a devastating impact on her. I would like to thank her for her courage and ongoing support to the investigation. We wish her all the best in her continued recovery, which has been an extremely long and difficult journey to this point.
“Mr Geard showed no remorse upon his arrest. The comments he made about the victim’s injuries, and his attempts to play down his knowledge of the incident, served to strengthen the resolve of all officers and staff involved in the investigation to pursue justice.”
Detective Inspector Guy Biggar said: “The team have worked extremely hard to ensure that the victim received justice. I’m pleased to see that the prosecution team were able to secure a conviction for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, in what is a particularly nasty, and unprovoked attack where Mr Geard used his vehicle as a weapon. The conviction, and subsequent sentence, is also testament to DC Mitchell’s hard work, diligence, and professionalism.”
Mrs Thorne said: “He’s ruined my life and there’s not much else to say. I just have no idea why he would drive into me. I just wanted him to stop because he hit my sons-in-law’s car. He was so angry.
“It’s been the worst thing to ever happen to me but I also I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me through this very difficult time; my family and friends, the hospital staff who looked after me for months on end, the paramedics, the physios who have helped get me back on my feet, my colleagues, and the police.
“Everyone has been so lovely to me through this process, and I am very grateful for all of the care and support I am still receiving.”