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Boys suffered broken skulls after 'goading' woman to drive off as they sat on car

PUBLISHED: 17:14 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:15 14 February 2020

Lime Grove in Gayton, where the two boys suffered fractured skulls after goading Claire Johns to pull away while they sat on the boot of her car.

Lime Grove in Gayton, where the two boys suffered fractured skulls after goading Claire Johns to pull away while they sat on the boot of her car.

Archant

Two teenage boys suffered fractured skulls after "goading" a woman to drive off while they were sitting on the boot of her car.

The pair fell off when Claire Joanne Johns' BMW 320 hit a bump shortly after pulling away.

Lynn Magistrates' Court heard on Thursday that Johns, 42, was "devastated" following the high jinks that had a terrible outcome.

The incident happened as Johns picked the boys up from a house in Gayton, after a camp out.

Prosecutor Eleanor Sheerin told the bench that the pair were sitting on the boot of the car after equipment had been put in it.

"They were goading Miss Johns into driving while they were on the boot of the car," she said. "Miss Johns then did that, causing the boys to fall off. Both fractured their skulls. They also suffered significant cuts and bruises to other parts of the body."

Johns, of Hall Farm Road, Gayton, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving on June 21 last year.

She had been sitting in the car talking to a woman standing on the pavement when the boys climbed on the boot, explained solicitor Charlotte Winchester in mitigation.

"She told them to get off a number of times and they didn't. Not only would they not get off, [one boy] was actually saying "go on, boot it".

"She says this went on for quite some time. Witnesses' statements confirm that.

"Stupidly, that's what she did - she drove forward slowly, the car hit a bump and they both came off.

"She's absolutely devastated by what happened and says her life has not been the same since."

A court order was made preventing identification of the boys, both of whom have recovered well.

Johns also pleaded guilty to both obstructing and assaulting a police officer in a separate incident at her home on January 5. The court heard that an arrest of someone in the property was to be made over an arson incident.

Johns refused to hand over a mobile phone, kicking out and making contact with an officer.

For the driving offence, Johns was disqualified for 12 months and given a 12-month community order with 80 hours' unpaid work and 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Chairman of the bench John Hare told her: "I'm sure in hindsight, bearing in mind the injuries, you wish you had never moved off. Unfortunately you took the wrong decision which had those consequences."

Johns was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the police officer assaulted. There was no separate penalty for the obstruction offence.

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