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Maimed mum to sue death driver

PUBLISHED: 14:50 24 August 2001 | UPDATED: 10:28 03 March 2010

A SUFFOLK man whose careless driving led to the death of a policeman has admitted responsibility for a crash in which a woman lost her leg, the Evening Star can reveal.

A SUFFOLK man whose careless driving led to the death of a policeman has admitted responsibility for a crash in which a woman lost her leg, the Evening Star can reveal.

Jamie Robinson was at the wheel of a 17-tonne lorry that smashed into the back of a Vauxhall Astra marked car near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire - killing Pc Adrian Baker.

However just seven months earlier Robinson, of Crown Street, Stowmarket, was the driver in charge of a Ford Fiesta XR2 vehicle that left the A12 at Copdock in September 1999 and ploughed into a ditch. He has admitted liability for the crash and is being sued for a six-figure sum.

Robinson was driving in the left side lane when he moved out into the outside lane, not realising there was another vehicle very close to him. He swerved back into the inside lane, then swerved to avoid a bus, before the car left the road completely.

Father of three Robinson, formerly of Coronation Drive, Felixstowe, and a friend, who were in the front of the car, escaped uninjured, as did Paul Connington and his five-year-old son, who were in the rear of the car.

However, Mr Connington's partner Pippa Hicks had to be cut out of the car. The whole operation took three hours, with the roof having to be cut off.

Ms Hicks was taken to Ipswich Hospital where emergency operations were carried out on her right leg, which had been shattered in the smash.

After five operations to restore her knee to the correct position, surgeons told her in February of last year that she would have to have her leg amputated just above the knee.

Ms Hicks said she has faced a two-year battle to simply live her daily life following the smash, lost her house and had to send her five-year-old son to a foster home.

"My life was turned upside down after my accident. It's just been very strange. It has been very difficult and very hard work. I have a wheelchair and an electric scooter.

"I did have all manner of plates and pins in my leg, but it just kept collapsing. It was in casts and everything, but they told me after I saw a specialist in Norwich that I would have to have it amputated.

"The thing that got me is that Robinson never came to see me in hospital. I was in hospital for months. His mother came to see me and she was lovely. I have only seen him once since the accident, in a supermarket. My little boy knew who he was and he admitted it to him. But he never apologised."

Ms Hicks and her partner and son were forced to move out of their mobile home due to Ms Hick's disability and reside with her parents in The Walk, Felixstowe.

She has also spent time with relatives in Cornwall and Yorkshire. Her son Kieran was forced to go into foster care as Ms Hicks was unable to care for him and her partner had to work, and had nowhere to live, following the smash. She has been back living with her son since April.

"Everybody has been just great," said Pippa. "They have just done everything they possibly can for us.

"But I just think that the law needs to be changed.

"I can not believe that a man has lost his life. There should be a new law bought in where someone can be imprisoned for careless driving."

Mrs Hicks is now suing Robinson for what her solicitor Stephen Skinner, of Pretty's, Elm Street, Ipswich, described as "a six figure sum".

He said that Robinson had admitted liability, but as far as he was aware he was sending mail to an address in Felixstowe.

"Mr Robinson's insurance company have let us know that he admits liability for the accident and I am currently taking the matter further for my client," said Mr Skinner. "I can say that we will probably be looking for compensation in the region of a six figure sum.

"Norwich Union have said that they agree that Ms Hick's injuries are as a direct result of the accident in which Mr Robinson was driving the car. I am currently finalising Ms Hick's medical evidence before a claim is lodged. As always in these type of cases, negotiations will take place between ourselves and Norwich Union over the amount of the claim."

A spokesperson from Norwich Union said: "We can confirm that we are in discussions with Miss Hicks' solicitors, Pretty's in Ipswich. We are involved in on-going discussions with them regarding the level of compensation that Miss Hicks will receive as a result of the accident. However, the details of these discussions are confidential."

Following the fatal crash in Aylesbury in which Pc Baker was killed Robinson, admitted his guilt in court.

He was fined £250 and banned from driving for two years - causing outrage to the parents of the officer killed.

At the time of the crash on April 10 last year Robinson had nine points on his licence and had also been disqualified from driving for six months in 1997. However, when sentenced at Aylesbury Magistrates Court, magistrates heard how intended to start driving lorries once his ban was up.

Pc Baker, 34, died when the police Vauxhall Astra in which he was a passenger was in collision with Robinson's 17 tonne Volvo lorry which was travelling behind.

Robinson suffered minor injuries in the crash.

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