A RECKLESS Rugby man ran over his girlfriend’s legs after she got out of his car following a police chase – and then ran over them for a second time when he drove off again.
Mercifully for her, and for driver Terence Hannifin, she only suffered a broken ankle, but no more permanent injuries, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has observed.
Hannifin, 31, of Copeland, Brownsover, was jailed for a total of 16 months after pleading guilty to charges of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.
Prosecutor Ravi Sidhu said that on March 4 the police were investigating a matter involving Hannifin and his partner.
When they were seen in a convertible Vauxhall Astra in Mill Road at around 7pm, officers followed them as they pulled into a car park.
But Hannifin then drove away with the headlights off, ignoring the police car’s blue lights and sirens as the officers tried to get him to stop.
Hannifin turned into Railway Terrace where he drove at 40mph on the wrong side of the road in a 20mph zone.
As the pursuit continued along narrow residential streets Hannifin, still with the lights off, went over speed bumps at 45mph before turning into Park Road and going through a red light at 50mph as he headed towards Newbold Road.
There he slowed down and the passenger door opened, so the police car pulled up alongside as the Astra came to a halt.
As his girlfriend got out of the passenger door, Hannifin was revving the engine, and he then drove forward, hitting her and knocking her onto the bonnet.
She fell off, and as one of the officers tried to pull her away, Hannifin drove forward, with the front wheel running over her leg.
He stopped, but as she lay screaming in pain, he drove off again, running over her legs for a second time with the rear wheel.
As the police took up the chase again, Hannifin reached 70mph in a 30mph zone before going the wrong way round an island into Yates Avenue.
With the lights still off, and doing 60mph along the residential road, he lost control of the car, which had defective tyres and no MoT, and crashed into three parked cars.
With injuries including a fractured neck and ribs, he had to be released from the car and was taken to hospital, where his partner had also been taken suffering from a broken ankle and substantial bruising to her legs.
Olivia Appleby, defending, said Hannifin had written a letter in which he began by saying: “I would like to say thank you to the doctors and police officers for saving my life.”
She conceded he had ‘an appalling record,’ which the court heard included dangerous driving, robbery and kidnapping, but said it was her understanding Hannifin’s girlfriend’s ankle was not fractured.
Judge Barry Berlin interjected: “He ran over her, and then ran over her again. The attempt to minimise his position is not attractive. She is lucky she’s not dead, and he is lucky he’s not dead.”
Miss Appleby added: “He clearly showed remorse. He is aware of the consequences, and that it clearly crossed the custody threshold – but in my submission it is a sentence which could be suspended.”
But jailing Hannifin, and disqualifying him for three years and eight months, Judge Berlin told him: “I don’t need to tell you how serious this was, and I don’t need to tell you this could have been fatal, not just to her, but to you and others.
“Mercifully she did not suffer permanent injury as far as I can tell. That’s why you’re facing the charge you are, and not something far more serious.
“There must be a custodial sentence in this case.”