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Cyclist Philip Benwell to be sentenced today over crash involving nine-year-old Leila Crofts
A CYCLIST who mowed down a nine-year-old girl on a pedestrian crossing in the summer is due to be sentenced in court today after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.
Philip Douglas Benwell, 38, was warned that he may face a jail term after admitting the charge at Bournemouth Crown Court last month, relating to a collision near Branksome Chine beach which left Leila Crofts with life-threatening injuries.
She was taken to the paediatric intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital following the incident, which took place in Pinecliff Road on Friday, July 26.
Adjourning the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared ahead of today’s hearing, Judge Johnson said: “I regard this as a serious matter and you ought to be aware that custody is very much a possibility in this case.”
Benwell, of Crescent Road, Bournemouth, was also charged with the rare offence of causing grievous bodily harm by wanton and furious cycling, however this was dropped by the Crown in light of his guilty plea to the more serious offence.
Dorset Police said he had fled the scene of the collision and issued a witness appeal for him to come forward.
He was arrested the next day after presenting himself at Bournemouth Police Station.
Leila’s parents Chanine Boulton and Darren Crofts remained at her bedside during her recovery and asked that she be in everyone’s thoughts and prayers. Ten days after the crash her condition was said to be improving.
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