Belfast Telegraph

Derry driver left hit-and-run victim in street with life-changing injuries, court told

By George Jackson

An uninsured driver who caused life-changing and permanent injuries to a father of six in Londonderry has been jailed.

Jamie Mullan (21) from Sheriff's Road in Derry, pleaded guilty to four charges after striking Paul McCrossan with his car, before driving off with the victim clinging on to the bonnet.

Mullan drove 30 metres at speed along Upper Bennett Street.

CCTV footage shown to the court showed the white Ford Focus driven by Mullan then swerving sharply twice, causing 43-year-old Mr McCrossan to fall off and collide with a parked van.

Mullan then drove off leaving the injured victim lying on the road.

The dangerous driving happened at the junction of Abercorn Road and Upper Bennett Street in the early hours of November 8, 2015.

Mullan was jailed for two and a half years at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday and disqualified from driving for three years.

Mullan, who had 33 previous convictions - two of them for driving offences - admitted dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving, driving without insurance and failing to report an accident in which a man was badly injured.

Mr McCrossan from the Creggan area of Derry, was in court for yesterday's sentencing.

Mr McCrossan sustained a significant injury to his left knee which involved a complete dislocation of the knee as well as a rupture of practically all of the ligaments.

He now has to use an orthotic foot support to keep his left ankle up and has a permanent foot drop.

He developed post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the ordeal and is currently undergoing counselling. His injuries were described as "severe, life-changing and permanent" in a victim impact report.

Judge Philip Babington said the tragedy for Mr McCrossan was that not only did he sustain life-changing injuries, but at the time he was a fit and active man in full employment which he had to give up because of those injuries.

Mullan told the author of a pre-sentence report, after he had given two 'no comment' interviews to the police, that he had "freaked out and panicked" after his friend had been assaulted by a group of men outside the Abercorn Bar.

He believed that if he had stopped at the scene he too would have been assaulted.

Judge Babington said Mullan had a very difficult childhood during which he had been placed in care in nine different locations in Northern Ireland and Wales over a three year period.

He said Mullan has been assessed as presenting a high likelihood of re-offending because of his engagement in risk-taking and because of his impulsive behaviour.

Judge Babington said he had viewed the CCTV footage several times.

He said there was no need for Mullan to drive into his victim before swerving sharply twice as Mr McCrossan clung to the car's bonnet before losing his grip and colliding with the parked van.

He also said Mullan should have stopped to help Mr McCrossan instead of driving off at speed.

Earlier defence barrister Joe Brolly told the court that Mullan had received death threats from paramilitaries after his arrest.

He believed the IRA was going to kill him and he believed he was under electronic surveillance. The barrister said such was Mullan's fear after the incident that he had installed CCTV cameras and seven heavy duty locks in his home as well as buying an Alsatian guard dog.

Belfast Telegraph

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