Hit-and-run culprit should not have been driving

A brain injury victim who shouldn't have been driving killed a horse in a hit-and-run in Burnley, a court heard.

Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 4:10 pm
Burnley Magistrates Court.

Mohammed Sameer (25) hit the animal, John Boy, which was pulling a cart on Eastern Avenue in the town.

He didn’t give way and pulled out of Queen Victoria Road at the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery.

The 12-year-old horse had to be put down by a vet.

Its owner Mr Paul Sutcliffe, who lives in Burnley, fell from the cart in the crash on September 1st, hurting his ankle. Sameer didn’t stop, but later handed himself in to the police.

Burnley Magistrates’ Court was told father of-three Sameer was already banned from driving even though he should never have been on the road in the first place because of his injury, suffered in a car crash in 2008.

He had been a passenger in that vehicle, was in a coma for about six months and the injury had left him with “a long list of difficulties,” including impulsive behaviour, impaired thinking and poor decision making. He had eight hours of care a day.

The Land Rover had been bought with his compensation for his support workers to drive him around. The keys should have been locked in a safe to stop the defendant getting them, but weren’t and his support worker had left.

Sameer had also driven in the early hours of the next day, clocking up another conviction for driving unlawfully, for which he was fined £200 and banned for 13 months.

Sameer was accompanied to court by his brain injury case manager, who said he felt the injury, while not an excuse, definitely led to the incident.

The defendant admitted driving while disqualified, driving without due care and attention and no insurance, on Queen Victoria Road. He was given 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year and banned for 12 months.

The defendant, of Fern Valley Chase, Todmorden, must pay £85 costs, a £115 victim surcharge and £700 compensation.

Sentencing, Deputy District Judge Frank Appleyard, who said what happened was a lesson about the keys, told Sameer: “I have had to think long and hard whether to send you immediately to custody.”

The deputy district judge said the defendant had “effectively breached the trust” of his support workers by taking the car keys and told him the death of the horse had no doubt caused it’s owner considerable emotional distress.

Prosecutor Mr Andrew Robinson said Sameer was given a discretionary disqualification in July for no licence and no insurance and had been banned for just over a month when the offence took place.

The horse suffered a nasty injury to it’s mouth area and had to be put to sleep by a vet. The vet’s bill was £700.

Mr Robinson added the owner told police his horse had been a big part of his life and it’s death had been a great loss.

Probation officer Elliot Smith told the court Sameer had a long list of difficulties after the car accident, such as cognitive impairment and problems with keeping his attention and emotional development.

The defendant’s lawyer Miss Bennett told the hearing Sameer wanted the court to know he was very, very remorseful.

She said Sameer didn’t stop as he was scared and panicked. She added: “He had left the house to get some space. Custody would not be of any assistance to this defendant.”