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Harrowing Report On Crash Victim Read In Court

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Christchurch, March 16 NZPA - A harrowing victim impact report was read in court today by the mother of a woman seriously injured when a stolen car sped through Christchurch.

Thomas Joseph Hancy, a 19-year-old labourer, had pleaded guilty to aggravated wounding causing grievous bodily harm, two charges of reckless driving causing injury, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, failing to stop for a police car, theft, and possession of tools for taking a car.

The mother told Christchurch District Court that her daughter had not been expected to live after the crash, in which the car she was in was struck, and she had had to fight for her life because of traumatic brain injuries and other less serious injuries.

She told of the impact it had had on the rest of the family, and said her daughter still suffered with fatigue, confusion, frustration and had her good and bad days.

Medical staff had said her survival was astounding.

Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway said the victim's prognosis was still uncertain with a likely long term impact.

He said Hancy was in a stolen car, was speeding up to 120kmh and other motorists had to take evasive action when he drove on the wrong side of the road.

Hancy had already been disqualified from driving and was racing away from a police car with lights flashing. A collision was inevitable, he said.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger read a letter from Hancy to the court in which he said he took full responsibility and regretted his decisions.

He apologised to the family and said that every time he looked in the mirror it took him back to that day. Scars are still evident on his forehead.

He said he had acted on impulse, without thinking, and had no intention of hurting other people.

Hancy wrote that he was determined to change his ways and knew that after spending time in prison that he did not want to live that lifestyle. He has been in prison since the crash on December 5.

Miss Bulger said Hancy had no alcohol in his system at the time.

Judge Graeme Noble told the court that Hancy crashed into a car in Durham St, bounced off it into a pole and then into the Office Max building.

The car he hit held a 24-year-old woman driver, her five-year-old daughter, and a man.

The woman spent over eight weeks in hospital, the daughter was unhurt and the man spent nine days in hospital.

Hancy suffered head and internal injuries but was released from hospital within 48 hours.

There was property damage totalling thousands of dollars, but reparation would be a fruitless exercise as Hancy had no means, and no prospects, he said.

Judge Noble said Hancy was a seasoned offender with 45 or more previous convictions including driving, assault, and intentional injury charges.

"You have completely failed to learn anything from your previous offending," he said.

The pre-sentence report made depressing reading and there was a high risk of reoffending.

"Only time will tell if you are serious about your remorse. You have a great deal of work to do for yourself," he said.

He sentenced Hancy to five years and three months prison with a non-parole period of three years, and disqualified him from driving for five years from April 2009 when his current disqualification ends.

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