Man Sentenced For Driving Into Girls

28 April 2019, 06:23 | Updated: 28 April 2019, 06:27

Keith Dootson

A pensioner's got a suspended jail term after his "bizarre" driving injured four teenagers and their teacher at Sizergh Castle.

Keith Dootson hit the accelerator as he tried to escape a jam in the car park in summer 2017.

He threw two Kirkbie Kendal pupils into the air, and left the teacher needing reconstructive surgery.

The 77-year old pleaded guilty to a dangerous driving charge.

Prosecutor at Carlisle Crown Court, Gerard Rogerson. told how the vehicle hit four teenagers and also struck 57-year-old teacher Adele Nicholl.

"The scene after the incident is described by witnesses as one of panic and distress," said Mr Rogerson, who told how Dootson's car came to a halt 135ft beyond the first collision point.

Ms Nicholl - the most seriously injured - suffered an open fracture dislocation of a left little finger, requiring plastic surgery and still visibly deformed; a fractured left ankle; and a knee ligament injury. She was hospitalised and still suffered "flashbacks of the girls being thrown over the bonnet".

One 13-year-old girl was detained in hospital having sustained swollen eyes, leg pain and a broken nose, for which she will have reconstruction surgery when she turns 18. Three youngsters suffered cuts and bruising.

Former teacher Dootson, of Scot Lane, Aspull, near Wigan, told police he had caught the accelerator too hard and "panicked". He had expressed "genuine remorse" for conduct which was not deliberate.

He admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving to Ms Nicholl. On Friday, he was handed a 15-month jail term, suspended for two years, and a six-month night-time curfew.

Judge James Adkin heard Dootson hadn't driven since the incident, had surrendered a driving licence held for nearly 60 years and led an "otherwise blameless life". Judge Adkin concluded: "It was a piece of bizarre, dangerous driving which caused serious injury to members of the public."