A 14-year-old girl was knocked unconscious and left with serious injuries after she was struck by a driver suffering a hypoglycaemic attack. The victim was left unable to walk for nine days and was bed bound for months after the collision, which caused fractures to her pelvis, spine and ribs.

Christopher Johns, 61, knew he was likely to suffer an episode while driving in Aberdare on November 20, 2021, and struck a teenager as she was walking with her friend. He failed to stop at the scene and continued driving to his house a couple of miles away.

A sentencing hearing at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard the defendant was driving his Mitsubishi Mirage along Cardiff Road when he struck a lamppost. Around 15 metres further on he mounted the kerb and a footpath, on which the victim was walking with her friend.

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Prosecutor Pamela Kaiga said Johns collided with the victim and knocked her to the ground. He carried on driving and collided with a parked car before driving off to his home. The victim was left unconscious on the footpath with only her young friend to tend to her. You can sign up to our regular Crime and Punishment newsletter here

The emergency services and the girl's parents attended the scene, and she was diagnosed with concussion. After regaining consciousness, the girl was described as "screaming in pain". She was taken to hospital where she received treatment for a broken rib and two fractured ribs, a broken pelvis, a bruise to her lung which had been punctured, fluid in her liver, a fracture to the base of the spine, a road rash to her leg and thigh, and an injury to an ankle.

The victim underwent three separate surgeries and was left unable to walk for nine days. Once she had received physiotherapy, she was able to walk but had to use a wheelchair and frame.

'Screaming in pain'

It was later established Johns has type one diabetes and took a libre test on the day of the collision which revealed evidence of hypoglycaemia. Ms Kaiga added: "He knew he was at risk of a hypoglycaemic attack and it was unsafe to drive."

Johns, of Glanrhyd Street, Cwmaman, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving. The court heard he was of previous good character.

In a victim personal statement read to the court, the victim's mother said: "I will never forget the day the incident happened. My husband went to pick up our daughter from her friend's house and didn't come back for a long time. I called my husband to check up on them and he informed me (my daughter) was hit by a car. My heart sank and I felt like a tonne of bricks. I screamed 'God don't take her away from me'. (My daughter) was already receiving paramedic care in the ambulance when I arrived, my husband experienced the trauma of seeing (my daughter) unconscious on the sidewalk before the ambulance arrived. She woke up screaming in pain while receiving treatment. The fight began in hospital for our beloved daughter."

The victim's mother said her daughter required significant assistance upon her discharge from hospital and "couldn't do anything for herself". She was on strong painkillers to cope with the severe pain she experienced and suffered from depression and anxiety. Her schooling was also affected due to the amount of time she was injured, and she felt isolated from her friends. The mother added: "This person did not take appropriate actions, putting our daughter's life at risk. The person who caused this has ruined and changed our daughter's life forever. Her life will never be the same as a result of his actions."

'Out of character'

In mitigation, defence barrister Nick Gedge said his client's references spoke of him in "glowing terms" and what happened on the evening of the collision was "completely out of character". He said the defendant had been managing his diabetes for more than 30 years without incident, and had little recollection of the collision due to his condition.

Sentencing Judge Simon Mills told the defendant he should not have been driving on the day in question, and suggested he should not try to regain his driving licence. He added: "No sentence this court can pass can put the situation back to what it was before the collision. I can't undo the injuries that were caused.... What happened was entirely unavoidable."

Johns was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, of which he will serve half in custody and the remainder on licence. He was also disqualified from driving for three years and 10 months.

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