A JUDGE has jailed a pair of unlicensed and uninsured bikers who left a six-year-old boy with serious injuries after they recklessly jumped a red light at a pedestrian crossing.
Nathan John Crocker and Damian Anthony Wernham were given three years and four months imprisonment between them by Recorder William Ashworth at Winchester Crown Court on Friday (3 March), for their respective roles in the incident.
The pair were riding motorbikes along London Road in July last year when Crocker, of The Grove, Penton, struck a young boy as he and his family attempted to step out onto a red lit crossing near Winton Community Academy.
Wernham, of Dene Court, who was riding behind Crocker at the time of the incident, also jumped the red light seconds later.
Crocker, who was given a 28 month sentence for causing injury by dangerous driving, and Wernham, who was handed 12 months for the lesser offence of dangerous driving, later fled the scene.
Both also pleaded guilty to charges of not having a licence and insurance at the time of the collision.
The incident took place on July 17 as Crocker, 24, and Wernham, 23, made their way to an off-road biking site in Ludgershall.
As the pair approached the toucan crossing, the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was waiting to cross along with members of his family.
The court heard how the lights had turned red and the beeping sound had begun when the boy, who was holding the hand of his aunt at the time, began to cross.
Crocker, who had continued driving through the lights, struck the child with the side of his bike, sending the boy flying “10 feet” down the road.
A witness to the incident described seeing a child’s shoe land on his windscreen before hearing the “loudest screams” he has ever heard.
The youngster suffered a multitude of injuries, including a severely broken leg and damage to his lungs, liver and kidneys.
He was treated at Southampton General Hospital, where he spent the next 12 days.
Doctors were forced keep the boy in contraction for the first nine days and use metal pins in a successful operation to fix his broken leg.
However the boy’s mother, who also cannot be named, said the collision has had a longer term effect on her child.
In a statement, she said: “He has gone from a fun loving, active little boy to being completely immobile and unable to understand why.
“He is no longer the happy young child that he used to be. He seems to be much more worried about things but he isn’t able to tell us why he is worried.”
The boy’s uncle, who witnessed the incident and believed he had recognised Crocker as he rode past, later visited the 24-year-old at his home.
He found him and Wernham in the back garden and confronted them, leading Wernham to call the police.
Officers arrived to find Crocker and his bike, which no longer had a licence plate, while Wernham had fled the scene.
Following police questioning, Crocker was subsequently charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving, riding without a licence, riding without insurance and failing to stop after a collision.
He was also found to have low levels of alcohol and cannabis in his system, but both were deemed within the “legal limit”.
Meanwhile Wernham was charged with dangerous driving, riding without a licence and riding without insurance.
Both Wernham and Crocker pleaded guilty to all offences.
In court, prosecutor Dawn Hyland asked the judge to class Crocker’s dangerous driving offence as the highest level possible due to the “deliberate” decision to jump a red light.
Crocker’s lawyer, Robert Forrest, disagreed and asked the judge to consider a lower band.
In mitigation, Mr Forrest said it was not possible to defend his client’s actions, but said he “recognised”the pain he had caused.
He said: “Mr Crocker would like anyone in this court room to know that he understands the effects of his actions.
“He is not someone who seeks to minimise his actions or what happened. He fully accepts the extent of the damage he has caused.”
Meanwhile Wernham’s lawyer, Adrian Fleming, admitted his client had a “chequered past”, pointing to a number of previous convictions.
However Mr Flemming said Wernham was beginning to turn his life around ahead of the birth of his third child.
He said: “Let me say this from the start, Mr Wernham is in a different position from Mr Crocker because he didn’t hit the child.
“He is to be sanctioned for driving through a red signal as well as having no licence and no insurance.
“He is very soon to become a father again. Unlike his last child he is in a stable relationship with the mother and he wants to make a better go at it than he has in the past.”
Despite the emotional plea, Recorder Ashworth had little sympathy with the two bikers.
Sentencing Crocker, he said: “It is difficult to see some level of remorse when you continue to suggest that he (the boy) ran away into the road when the weight of evidence suggests otherwise.
“In my view, having considered the evidence, you should have been aware and realised he (the boy) was waiting to cross.
“You say you were riding within the speed limit but I consider you were going too fast on approach to the toucan crossing.
“You took the risk in crossing a red light and a terrible tragedy followed.
“Your inappropriate speed and aggressive manner, crossing a pedestrian crossing when red, must be seen as reckless and must be placed in the highest category.”
Recorder Ashworth sentenced Crocker to a total of 42 months in prison, reduced to 28 for his guilty plea, and disqualified him from driving for four years.
Sentencing Wernham, the judge added: “Mr Wernham, you were driving at speed, you crossed a red light and you didn’t stop to help.
“The maximum penalty (for dangerous driving) is two years, however you have shown remorse and entered a guilty plea.
“I’m sentencing you to 18 months custody, reduced to 12 months.
“You will be disqualified from driving for two years.”
Both of the defendants’ families lent over the public galleries to see the pair as they were taken down to the cells.