A NEWLY-QUALIFIED driver who was "showing off" before a horror crash that seriously injured three people has been jailed for three years.

Oliver Walker was one of six people - including two babies - inside his father's Peugeot when the vehicle left the road and careered into a ditch on November 10 2013.

He had "unnecessarily" overtaken another car being driven by a friend in the seconds before he missed the junction at Cuckoo Lane next to the Puddletown bypass, went across a road and crashed.

Gemma Kerslake, who was with her 15-month old daughter, suffered a fractured jawbone and cheekbone in the crash.

Kerri Downes and her one-year-old daughter both suffered broken legs.

Walker, of South Street in Wareham, had passed his driving test in May 2013 - less than six months before the crash took place.

He was convicted of three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving following a trial at Dorchester Crown Court during the summer.

Walker had admitted making a false statement to obtain insurance at an earlier hearing, and it was heard that he had bought temporary insurance to cover his father's car online under the pretence that he had been driving for longer than he really had on 33 occasions. 

Yesterday morning, the defendant, 23, appeared before a judge at Bournemouth Crown Court for sentence.

Nicholas Cotter, prosecuting, said passengers in the car had warned Walker to slow down in the moments before the collision, which took place on a stretch of road limited to 60 miles per hour.

"Ms Kerslake said the speed [in the seconds before the crash] was around 75mph," Mr Cotter said.

"Others say it was between 70mph and 80mph."

Rufus Taylor, mitigating for Walker, urged the judge sitting at the court to give the defendant a suspended sentence.

"It is beyond question that Gemma Kerslake was not wearing her seatbelt, nor was Kerri Downes and nor therefore was her one-year-old daughter," Mr Taylor said.

"Had they been worn, it may have avoided any serious injuries at all."

Mr Taylor said Walker had "a complete unawareness" that there was a junction at Cuckoo Lane, and the defendant himself said the road had just "disappeared".

But Judge Brian Forster QC said Walker must be sent to prison for the offences.

"You overtook a car being driven by someone you know and having completed that overtaking manoeuvre you drove at speed and were accelerating towards a junction that you apparently didn't know to be there," he said.

"That overtaking manoeuvre was unnecessary and in my judgement you were trying to show off."

Walker, who wept throughout the hearing, shouted "love you" to family sitting in the public gallery as he was led away.