Safety message from man badly injured by Norfolk driver who fell asleep

PA Library photo dated 12/7/01 The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey, London.

PA Library photo dated 12/7/01 The Scales of Justice on top of the Old Bailey, London. - Credit: PA

An RAF engineer who was left with life-changing injuries after a Norfolk driver fell asleep at the wheel of her car has spoken of his disappointment after she was spared jail.

Karl Hargreaves was left fighting for his life last May when Mary Crofts, 69, hit his motorcycle while driving back to her Billingford home on the A17 at Heckington.

Lincoln Crown Court heard she had had a 'small amount' of sleep after returning from a holiday and that motorists noticed her car drifting over the centre of the white line.

Last week Crofts, who runs a ship fending business, was given a six-month suspended sentence, a two-month night- time curfew and was banned from driving for three years.

Now, Mr Hargreaves has said he hopes to raise awareness of driving while tired and said it was 'difficult to put into words' the impact the crash had on his life.

'She consciously made the decision to drive, knowing the impact that it could have, and in doing so has completely changed my life in every conceivable way,' he said. 'As an engineer and biker, I led a very full and active life and that was taken away in a matter of minutes by one irresponsible decision.

'I feel quite bitter about the whole experience.

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'It's really important that drivers understand the damage that they can do by getting behind the wheel tired and once it's done the impact cannot be reversed.'

Crofts collided with the back of a highways maintenance lorry travelling in the opposite direction before smashing head-on into the motorbike.

Mr Hargreaves initially stopped breathing but was revived by a passing trauma medic before being airlifted to the Queens Medical Centre in Notting-ham, where he was treated in intensive care for multiple fractures and a severe brain injury.

He was left wheelchair-bound but has since learned to walk again.

Crofts must also take an extended re-test and pay £530 court costs.

Crofts, of Main Road in Billingford, pleaded guilty to a single charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving on May 13 last year.

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