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8 months' jail for driver who failed to stop after leaving cyclist with serious leg injuries

Motorist discovered victim was former schoolfriend after turning himself in

A motorist in Leigh, Greater Manchester who lost control of a car he had just bought and hit a cyclist, causing him serious leg injuries, then drove off without stopping, has been jailed for eight months.

When he handed himself in to police two days after the incident on the afternoon of August 5, apprentice joiner Kristian Hackett, aged 21, discovered that the victim was someone who had been his friend at school, 22-year old John Lees, reports Wigan Today.

Sentencing Hackett, Judge William George didn’t mention whether the victim, an engineer, would be able to ride his bike again, instead choosing to highlight the impact of his injuries on his ability to drive.

“Every time he [Mr Lees] gets into a car or does everyday activities he will be reminded of the serious injury to his leg,” he said, adding, “This offence is so serious only a custodial sentence is justified.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Lees told the court that the incident, which took place on Greenfold Way in Leigh, had ruined his life.

An eyewitness told the court that the car that struck Mr Lees, who needed eight operations on his kneecap and leg as well as skin grafts, had been traveling at double the speed limit of 30mph when it hit the cyclist, who had pulled out to pass a stationary van, head-on.

The witness added that their initial thought had been, ““he’s just killed that cyclist.”

Hackett, who had bought the Daihatsu car the previous evening, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance, failure to stop after an accident and failure to report an accident.

Besides the eight-month prison sentence, he received a three-year ban from driving and will have to undergo an extended driving test to get his licence back once that expires.

Ms Zillah Williams, on behalf of Hackett, said that he had no previous and that her client admitted that he had been traveling at 40mph.

She added: “He is extremely remorseful. He was in the year above Mr Lees at school and considered him to be a friend. He got in touch with him while he was still in hospital to apologise.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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