Norwich driver jailed for causing serious injury to his passengers

PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 February 2014

Norwich Crown Court.

Norwich Crown Court.

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A driver, who got behind the wheel after a night out clubbing in Norwich, was still one and half times over the legal drink drive limit when he crashed his car at a bridge leaving himself and his three passengers with life-changing injuries, a court heard.

Michael Dewdney, 22, who also had traces of illegal drugs in his system, refused to listen to his passengers when they told him he was driving like an idiot and asked him to slow down and instead he said he would like to take the bridge “at speed” before losing control of his Renault Clio on the B1149 Holt Road, in Cawston, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Jonathan Masters, prosecuting, said on-lookers estimated his speed at 70 to 80mph and the car ended up somersaulting into a field. One of his passengers Amber Read, a part-time model who worked at the Devil’s Advocate, in Norwich, suffered serious head injuries with bleeding around the brain and spinal injuries and had to be airlifted to hospital by air ambulance. He said she had to have rods fitted to her spine, which has left scarring and in an impact statement she said she used to do modelling as a hobby but has not since the crash because she feels conscious of the scarring. Another passenger, Joseph Cork, had to give up his job as a doorman at Devil’s Advocate as he now has long-term back problems after fracturing his spine. A third passenger Jason Chapman also had to have 10 weeks off work and has problems with his back and shoulders.

Mr Masters said that Dewdney himself suffered serious injury to his head and arm.

Mr Masters said when tested Dewdney was found to be one and half times over the legal drink drive limit after spending the previous evening visiting various clubs in the city. He said there was also traces of amphetamine, ecstasy and cannabis in his system.

Dewdney, of Half Mile Close, Norwich admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and driving with excess alcohol on April 20, last year.

Jailing him for 32 months and imposing a three year driving ban, Judge Nicholas Coleman said because the offence was a new one there were no guidelines, but said it was a serious matter.

“You not only caused injury to yourself but to the occupants of your car. There were multiple victims of your driving and they have suffered extremely serious injuries.”

He added: “You were driving at about 80mph.”

He said the cause of the accident was speed. “It was a sharp bridge which caused the car to take off and you lost control and rolled into the edge of a field. There was a deliberate intention to take the bridge at speed. You were warned not to and to stop being an idiot,”

However he accepted that no other vehicle was involved and had pleaded guilty.

He also ordered Dewdney, who had previous driving offences to take an extended test before getting back behind the wheel.

John Farmer, for Dewdney, said he also suffered serious injury in the crash and has some loss of movement in his arm.

He said that Dewdney had been in a period of separation from his partner and had been on a night out.

“He should not have been driving. He has got no memory of what happened.”

He added: “In that dim judgement he drove way too fast at the bridge and lost control. It was a piece of extreme foolishness.”

He said Dewdney regretted his actions and had no intention to drive in the future.

Mr Farmer added: “He knows the misery it has inflicted.”

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