Speeding driver jailed for one year

A DANGEROUS driver is behind bars today after his high speeds caused an accident that left one teenage girl fighting for her life and a second with head injuries.

A DANGEROUS driver is behind bars today after his high speeds caused an accident that left one teenage girl fighting for her life and a second with head injuries.

Wayne Swarbrick appeared at Ipswich Crown Court for sentence yesterday after pleading guilty to a charge of dangerous driving at an earlier hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

The crash happened just hours after he had already been warned by police to slow down after he was pulled over in Ipswich town centre.

But the angry family of 14-year-old Dayle Harper and her friend Astra Talbot are today calling for a change in the law after the 39-year-old was sentenced to a year in prison.

Miss Harper, who was not wearing a seatbelt in the car, spent a week in a coma following the crash and appeared in The Evening Star to warn others to belt up.

Miss Talbot, 18, said: “The sentence is not long enough. This was a horrendous and very frightening experience.

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“I would also like to warn other people to make sure they wear a seatbelt in the back of cars.”

Miss Harper's mother Joanne David has called for a change in the law that restricts a maximum sentence of two years in prison to be passed for a conviction for dangerous driving.

She said: “The punishment should reflect the crime. I do not think the driving ban was for long enough.

“Dayle is better than she was but she still hasn't fully recovered. She has slight brain damage which makes her very aggressive as a result.”

The court heard Swarbrick, 39 of Brickfield Close, Ipswich who knew one of the girls, offered Miss Talbot and Miss Harper a lift to Downside Close in his Ford Mondeo car from the Tesco store at Copdock at about midnight on September 21 last year.

Prosecuting barrister Neil Macauley said Swarbrick drove the girls, who were not wearing seatbelts, into Belmont Road where he started to speed. He reached speeds estimated at about 50mph before attempting to negotiate a sharp left hand turn.

Mr Macauley said Swarbrick lost control of the vehicle which veered from one side of the road to the other before it crashed into a wall.

Miss Harper suffered a fractured skull leaving her fighting for her life and hospitalised for four weeks. She underwent two operations. Miss Talbot suffered cuts and bruises and had to have eight stitches in her head.

Defence barrister Stephen Dyble said his client was remorseful for his actions and apologised to the victims and families. He added: “He acted with the best of intentions. It is clear he was driving in a pretty reckless way. He was travelling too fast and lost control of the vehicle.”

Mr Dyble said his client was not trying to show off or impress the two girls.

Swarbrick was also banned from driving for two years and his licence was endorsed.

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