A Wigan teenager who left a little boy critically ill after a hit and run police chase crash is back behind bars after telling officials he “couldn’t be bothered” to attend court-ordered appointments.
Victim Leo Durrington’s mum broke down in court as the 17-year-old responsible for the horrific collision, which has left him with long-term injuries, was sentenced to another three months in custody for a “woeful” failure to show willingness to change.
The Leigh tot was only three when he was hit by the speeding stolen Ford Transit van driven by the defendant as he and a friend fled from police. The vehicle hit Leo with such force that it threw him 17m into the air.
Anger broke out in the courtroom in December when the rogue driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to six months’ custody.
He was also given a six-month community order for a string of offences including dangerous driving, theft of a vehicle, failing to stop after an accident and failing to stop for police.
The teen initially served his time in a youth detention centre and was released on curfew to complete the sentence.
But this week the unrepentant boy was back before a district judge for failing to adhere to requirements put in place just eight months previously.
Leo’s mum was tearful as she listened to the teen’s defence solicitor talk about the effect the incident has had on his client and how he suffers from flashbacks every night.
But the Wigan Youth Court hearing was told that in July, he attended an appointment with a community support worker to whom he subjected a barrage of verbal abuse before leaving 90 minutes early.
In the following weeks he failed to show up for four more meetings, claiming that he “couldn’t be bothered” or he “overslept”.
His solicitor said the defendant was sick, his grandmother was ill and that he was working at the time of the appointments.
Defending, Imran Ali, told District Judge Mark Hadfield, that his client is suffering from “mental health problems” following the crash.
“This is something he has had to live with and sleep with each night since it occurred,” he said. “Every single night he has flashbacks. He regrets his actions.
“He genuinely feels his anxiety and depression have been triggered by his actions.
“He has to up his responsibility since his release and has been taking antidepressants to control his anxiety. He has tried to control his mood and stabilise his behaviour.”
Mr Ali explained that his client had felt “duty bound” to care for his grandmother, who raised him in his parents’ absence, which led him to miss appointments.
However Judge Hadfield questioned this, saying: “He told them (the youth offending team) he had overslept, he was working, he couldn’t be bothered and he has been on holiday.
“It doesn’t paint a very favourable picture.”
The defence solicitor continued by saying that the teenager had genuinely been ill on one of the occasions and that he had tried to get a sick note from his GP but was unsuccessful.
He said that when his client had tried to prove he had gained employment, it was “insufficient” because the letter from his employer was not printed on letter-headed paper.
“Efforts have been made to do what was requested,” he added.
In a bid to make the judge see that the teen is engaging with his requirements, he reminded the court that he had complied with the whole of his three-month curfew with no breaches.
However this also failed to impress Judge Hadfield, who said that the curfew is the “easiest” sentence to comply with as “all you have to do is sit in your house.”
After studying a report from the youth offending team, which was not read out in court, he decided to give the youngster the maximum sentence available.
Addressing him directly, Judge Hadfield said: “You came before me in December last year charged with a whole raft of extremely serious offences. You caused an accident when you were travelling at speed, being pursued by the police.
“You caused extremely serious injuries from which he (Leo) still suffers. I gave you 12 months of detention and an order. Some thought this was wholly inadequate.
“Your engagement since July has been woeful and prior to that you were causing difficulties with your behaviour towards officers. They have done everything in their power to re engage. You have done nothing to re-engage.
“I sentence you to custody for three months.”
Judge Hadfield explained that this is the maximum available sentence he can give the teen.