A MAN who caused a horrific accident on one of Dorset’s busiest roads has been jailed after a judge heard of the victim’s “life-changing” injuries.
Adele Ruffell was on her way to work at the Windgreen Service Esso Garage in Wareham Road, Corfe Mullen, on April 23 last year when her car was struck by an MG Rover driven by Stephen Anning.
At Bournemouth Crown Court yesterday, Judge John Harrow heard that the defendant had been driving “like the clappers” when he emerged from a junction and hit Ms Ruffell’s Corsa at Blandford Road.
The 55-year-old suffered catastrophic injuries in the collision, including severe trauma to her brain, which “shifted to the right” as a result of the forceful impact.
Prosecuting, Heather Shimmen said: “The defendant, having turned left, ended up straddling the central white hazard lines.
“He was in the path of the oncoming Corsa.”
She said the smaller vehicle was “forced to rotate” during the collision, and quoted multiple witnesses who said Anning had been breaking the 30 mile per hour speed limit.
“One said he had been travelling at ‘at least’ 50mph,” the prosecutor said.
The court heard that Ms Ruffell has had to undergo surgery as a result of the crash, and now has a titanium plate in her skull.
Her liver was lacerated, she suffered a punctured lung and a fractured arm, and has permanently lost her sense of smell and taste, among other injuries.
Anning admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving in May this year after initially pleading not guilty to the charge.
Mitigating, Frank Abbott said: “Mr Anning deserves considerable credit for having faced up to it.
“Sometimes facing up to something late in the day is more difficult than holding your hands up in the beginning.”
He said the defendant had asked witnesses to help Ms Ruffell - who he knew through her work at the filling station - rather than attend to his own injuries.
“He said, ‘Go and see the lady, don't worry about me’,” he said.
But Judge Harrow said the 45-year-old must face an immediate custodial sentence for the offence.
“These were catastrophic injuries, and the victim has borne them with great fortitude,” he said.
“No sentence of the court can begin to repair the damage caused.”
Anning, of Wayman Road, Corfe Mullen, was sentenced to 38 months in prison and a five-year driving ban.
Sergeant Stuart Pitman, of Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit, said: “I am very pleased the judge has taken the entire situation into account when applying this wholly justified custodial sentence.
“Having worked on this investigation over the last 12 months I have seen the devastating impact this has had on the family who continue to need close medical assistance. The impact on the local community of Corfe Mullen was immense.
“I hope this sentence sends out a very clear message that such driving will not be tolerated and the consequences are clear for all to see.”