One of two car thieves whose joyride ended in a high-speed horror smash has been jailed for three years and four months.
Lee Hadfield (21) and his accomplice, who had been at the wheel of the stolen £6,000 Honda Civic, cheated death when the vehicle careered into six parked cars in Manchester Road, Burnley. Hadfield and his friend had to be cut free from the car and an accident investigator concluded the vehicle had been doing at least 73 m.p.h. before the crash in a 30 m.p.h. zone – the town’s crown court heard.
Hadfield, who had been given a suspended jail term days before, had been found almost in the passenger footwell of the Civic, with the driver on top of him and was saved by the quick-thinking of a police officer who gave him oxygen and first aid.
He was taken to hospital but was less seriously hurt than his associate, who suffered a broken pelvis and other injuries. Several of the cars, including the Honda, were written off.
The hearing was told how the defendant then escaped from the Royal Blackburn Hospital, wearing only a hospital gown and stole clothes from a washing line.
Hadfield, of Piccadilly Road, Burnley, had admitted burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and theft and had been committed to the crown court for sentence by the town’s magistrates. Recorder Alan Conrad QC sentenced him to three years and activated the 16-week suspended term. The defendant was banned from driving for two years and must take an extended driving test.
Prosecutor Sarah Statham said on April 14th last year, Patricia Saville and her partner had gone to bed in their Burnley home. About 12-30 a.m., one of their sons was returning home when he saw their Honda Civic being driven away and found they had been burgled with two laptops, an iPod and mobile telephone missing.
Hadfield and his accomplice deposited their haul and headed onto the moors towards Rossendale at up to 100 m.p.h.
The prosecutor said the duo travelled to Crown Point and then headed back towards Burnley, down Manchester Road, hitting several parked cars and crossing the road.
James Heyworth (defending) said the burglary was opportunistic and the defendant accepted he was involved in it just as much as his co-accused.
The barrister said: ”He feels very lucky to be alive and fortunately for him at the last moment he had put his seat belt on, otherwise he might not have been here to answer these charges.”
There’s more on this case in tomorrow’s Express