Jail for hit and run outside wake

29 January 2011, 09:23 | Updated: 10 February 2011, 16:01

A man has been jailed for 21 months for knocking down and seriously injuring a man outside a wake in St Albans last September.

The victim, 26 year old Deryck Bell suffered several skull fractures and leg injuries after being struck by a car driven by Ricky Hall.

Both men had been attending a wake for Alex Lewis, 27 who had died while on holiday in Zante, Luton Crown Court was told on Friday.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Porter said the men had argued inside the London Road Social Club.

"It seems Mr. Hall was not welcome at the gathering. He was inappropriately dressed and he was acting in an arrogant manner.

"The argument continued outside the venue and Hall was heard to say 'I could have you, I could break you', before getting into a friend's Ford Focus.

"He reversed out of a parking space at speed and a loud revving of the engine was heard. The car then went forward and struck Mr. Bell full on and he was knocked on to the bonnet and the windscreen. He fell onto the passenger side of the vehicle and his head struck the kerb.

"His legs were driven over as the car left the scene," said the barrister.

Mr Porter said the prosecution had accepted a plea from Hall on the basis that he had not intentionally driven at the victim but that his actions were reckless.

Hall, 29, of Francis Avenue, St. Albans pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving.

Mr. Bell was transferred to the National Hospital for Neurosurgery in London for emergency brain surgery.

Mr. Porter said he has ongoing physical and psychological effects from the incident and is on medication and may need further surgery.

With Hall in the car was Ali Abdul-Hussain, 27, who owned the vehicle. He initially gave police a false account about who was driving, but within hours told them the truth.

Abdul-Hussain, of The Ridgeway, St. Albans pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. He was given a three month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and £500 costs.

Piers Reed, defending Hall said: "His intention was to scare him but not to hit him.

"He had gone to the wake to pay his respects but had gone straight from his job as a builder's labourer."

Judge Michael Baker QC told Hall: "You knocked him to the ground and drove off and he was very seriously injured. It was an act of extreme recklessness.

"There have been serious consequences and a long term effect on his employment."

The Judge told Abdul-Hussain: "Yours was an impulsive act in an attempt to protect a friend. But your realised quickly how very wrong your actions had been."