Burnley stolen car crash teen left fighting for life: court

RAIDER: Ricky England (s)
RAIDER: Ricky England (s)

A HOUSE raider who ended up fighting for his life after a crash in a stolen car, has been sent to a young offenders’ institution for two-and-a-half years.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Ricky England (19) suffered a brain injury after a £6,900 Land Rover Discovery he and his accomplice Joel Ludlum (16) had stolen, overturned when Ludlum was at the wheel.

The pair had raided the home of two pensioners, made off in their vehicle and then struck again at a family home within an hour.

A mother-of-two had been asleep on the settee at her house in Sedburgh Street, Burnley, and had been terrified when she awoke to find a hooded intruder standing feet away from her.

Ludlum crashed the Land Rover in Gannow Lane and climbed out after it landed on its roof next to a house. He had been sent to detention for 18 months, last December.

England, who was placed in a medically-induced coma after the smash, admitted two charges of burglary and one of theft, last August. The defendant, of Airdrie Crescent, Burnley, had a record for burglary.

Mr Ian Metcalfe (prosecuting) had told the court the couple awoke just after 4 a.m. to find their bungalow lights on and that their home, including the bedroom in which they had been sleeping, had been searched.

As well as car keys, a laptop, watch and wallet were also stolen.

Ludlum and England then used the Land Rover to commit the second raid, at around 5-15 a.m.

As soon as the victim started stirring, a hooded man ran from the lounge, taking her mobile phone with him.

Footprints were found on the window sill and kitchen floor and CCTV footage from a nearby camera showed the Land Rover being driven away.

About half-an-hour later the vehicle went out of control, hit a kerb and ended up on its roof.

Mr Metcalfe said England was taken to hospital, where it was found he had suffered bruising to his brain and other injuries, including a punctured lung.

He had fractures to the bones of his neck and was kept in intensive care for 12 days. He was placed in a medically-induced coma and was in hospital for about two months. The mobile phone was found among the debris of the accident. After the defendant was released from hospital, he was interviewed by police and indicated he had no recollection of events.

Mr James Heyworth (defending) said there had been a stage after the accident when it was not thought he would survive. He remembered nothing. He had a poor record, particularly for burglary, and conceded the only sentence that would be passed would be immediate imprisonment.

Mr Heyworth said the defendant, who committed his first burglary when he was 16, had had a wake-up call by the crash. “He appreciates he is lucky to be alive.” Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “In one sense you are fortunate to be here to be sentenced, given the serious injuries you got.”