Jail for car thief in 100mph smash in Burnley

JAILED: Paul Denwood, who has been jailed for 32 months (s)
JAILED: Paul Denwood, who has been jailed for 32 months (s)

A BURGLAR who ended up with a smashed pelvis and two broken legs after the stolen car he was driving crashed at 100 m.p.h. causing carnage has been jailed.

Paul Denwood (20) had lost control of the £9,000 Honda Civic and hit another vehicle before colliding with a line of seven parked cars in Manchester Road, Burnley, creating a scene of devastation.

The Honda and most of the other vehicles were written off, the town’s crown court was told.

Denwood, whose accomplice Lee Hadfield was also hurt in the smash, was said to have clocked up 100 m.p.h. in a built-up area after the pair broke into a house in Ladbrooke Grove, Burnley.

They stole two laptops, an iPod and the car keys. They took the loot to a house nearby before returning for the Civic. Both had to be freed from the crashed vehicle by firemen who took the roof off.

Denwood, who is currently in a wheelchair, was sentenced to 32 months in prison, after admitting house burglary, aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, having no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. The defendant, of Laburnum Close, Burnley, was also banned for two years and must take an extended retest.

Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said burglary victim Patricia Saville and her partner had gone to bed. Her partner’s son was walking home when he saw Mrs Saville’s car coming out of their road at speed. It had no headlights on but the hazard lights were flashing.

He woke the victims and they found they had been burgled. The ground floor had been ransacked and the Civic was gone. Mrs Saville’s partner’s car had been moved out of the way.

Mr Macro said the car was noticed by police as it was being driven very fast in Manchester Road, towards Rawtenstall.

A number of officers in different vehicles observed it and one estimated the speed at 100 m.p.h. as it headed back towards Burnley. One officer, who had parked up to make observations, feared her vehicle would be hit as it shook when Denwood sped past. He went through a red traffic light, tried to pass a Vauxhall on the nearside on the dual carriageway, hit it, and a huge collision followed as Denwood careered into the parked cars. The Civic was momentarily airborne and landed on the pavement. Vehicles were strewn all over the road, a cloud of smoke and steam were coming from the scene and one officer described it as “carnage.”

Denwood, who was bleeding from the nose and mouth and had lost a piece of skin from his thumb, let out a loud scream. He told police he was called Paul, but was not able to give his surname. He was on top of his passenger and both seemed seriously injured. Mr Hadfield had, in fact, suffered minor injuries and was earlier jailed for two years for his part in the incident. The prosecutor said the minimum speed at the point of impact was said to be 73 m.p.h. and the speed limit was 30 m.p.h.

Mr Daniel Thomas (defending) said what happened was horrific. “It could have ended in the death of any number of random people who might have been out that evening on the street,” he said. Denwood, who had had a troubled and sad upbringing, expressed considerable remorse. The damage to his pelvis would take some considerable time to heal. Mr Thomas added: “It’s quite clear he will have to go through that healing process while he is in custody.”

Sentencing, Judge Robert Brown told the defendant: “I take into account you yourself have suffered serious injuries as a result of your own foolishness.”