A carpenter who nearly killed a female police officer in a horror car crash has been jailed for more than four years.
Haydon Martin, 25, of Fenwick Road, Southwark crashed into PC Laura Wright when he attempted to evade police in a hair raising chase through Camberwell, southeast London.
Police were watching Martin on 20 October last year and tried to pull him over to search his car.
But he sped off from the officers in his Audi. Moments later, Martin hurtled into PC Wright’s unmarked police vehicle on Draycott Close.
Despite the officer’s piercing screams, Martin fled from the scene, leaving the officer shouting: ‘I am going to die’.
Giving a moving account of her terrifying ordeal, PC Wright said her vision went white, and she lost all feeling in her legs.
Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service rushed to the scene.
Firefighters from the London Fire Brigade were called to cut her out of the mangled wreckage as she lost consciousness.
PC Wright told Inner London Crown Court:
‘When I came to, I didn’t know what was happening; I didn’t know if I was going to walk again.
‘I tried to move, but I was trapped. I had seen so many road traffic accidents before, and because of this knowledge, I was afraid I was going to die.
‘At one point, I genuinely believed I was going to die because my vision went white.
‘I now know that was the shock kicking in. He clearly had not thought about anyone else, which is why he ran from the scene.
‘What is even more shocking, is it could have been a civilian. I have not gone back to work, and cannot walk without crutches.
‘I take medication to deal with the pain, I still wake up in the middle of the night, having to take my medication to make the pain subside.
‘I am still unable to bend my body more than 90 degrees at the waist.
‘I have to have other people help me perform basic tasks, such as shower, or go to the toilet. This has had such a large impact on my life.
‘This has increasingly become depressing, it was my dream to work as a police officer, but it was all destroyed by someone so callous.
‘I feel that because of the stress of my injuries, I’m causing undue burden to my family.
‘I just want this to be over, and I want to move on with my life.’
Martin was already serving a suspended sentence for attacking two officers in Peckham on 23 June last year.
Again, police tried to pull him over for a roadside stop, but he bit an officer as he made off.
He was eventually caught and handed a 15-month jail sentence suspended for two years for assaulting two police officers and possessing a 9cm-long lock knife.
Jailing Martin for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Judge Usha Karu said: ‘
‘At about 1.30 pm on 20 October 2020, police attempted to stop your car in Camberwell.
‘They put their blue lights on to alert you, but instead of stopping, you put your foot down on the accelerator and drove off at speed.
‘PC Wright was in an unmarked police vehicle. PC Wright drove her police car on Brisbane Street with her blue lights on and sirens on. You were on the wrong side of the road, and collided with the police car.
‘In your police interview, you said it wasn’t your fault, and you wished you did not smoke [cannabis] beforehand, but it was only a “bit of puff”.
‘When PC Wright came to, she was inside the vehicle and was trapped behind the wheel.
‘She began to panic and was unable to breathe. She briefly lost her vision, which caused her more distress.
‘The London Fire Brigade and ambulance service arrived to assist her. PC Wright did regain her vision in time but had to be cut out of the car. She was taken to Kings College hospital, and underwent surgery.
‘She was discharged from hospital on 2 November last year, and still waits to learn whether she requires further surgery.
‘You were taken to hospital, but your injuries were not serious, you were tested for drugs, and tested positive for cannabis. PC Wright describes the incident as incredibly traumatic.
‘She didn’t know whether she would ever be able to walk again. She has to use crutches to walk.
‘Her daily life has been adversely affected, her injuries may heal in time, but her dream of being a police officer may never.
‘Four months into your suspended sentence order, you have committed crimes again. You told police you were on your way to purchase flowers to lay on your friend’s grave, evidently, you didn’t make it.
‘I have seen letters from members of your family and your girlfriend, who says she is pregnant. This was a particularly persistent and sustained piece of very bad driving.
‘The manner of your driving gave no chance to PC Wright, she very lucky to survive. It was a miracle that there were not fatalities or more serious injuries in this case.
‘Your suspended sentence, in my judgement, there is no reason why this sentence should not be activated.
‘Your total sentence is four years three months, seven years driving disqualification, with a dangerous driving test requirement at the end of it, and a victim surcharge.’
Martin, of Fenwick Road, East Dulwich, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Ben Simpson said:
‘’It is a miracle that there were no fatalities as a result of this incident. Police officers all over the country work tirelessly day and night in order to protect the public. Whilst providing this crucial service last October, Martin subjected four such officers to a head-on collision.
“Martin drove at 60 miles per hour in 20 miles per hour residential streets, on the wrong side of the road and under the influence of drugs before fleeing the scene with his passenger leaving injured officers trapped inside their vehicle – he made no attempt to call for help.
“I am pleased that justice has been served and hope that the sentence handed down helps the injured officers to progress with their recoveries and once again serve and protect the community.”
Detective Superintendent Nicky Arrowsmith, from the Central South Command, said:
“This was a horrific head-on collision which left four of our officers needing hospital treatment.
“One officer was seriously injured, and three months on, two of the officers will be continuing in their recovery for some time to come. It was sheer luck that they were not permanently, or even fatally injured.
“Martin’s behaviour, and driving, that afternoon was deplorable, and he is now facing the consequences of his actions.
“Equally shocking is how Martin’s passenger ran from the scene leaving people injured. Our enquiries to identify and trace him remain ongoing.”
Emergency Services News has set up a crowdfunding page to help raise some money for PC Wright as she continues her long road to recovery.
CLICK HERE if this is something that you would like to support.
Anyone with information regarding the passenger can call police via 101 quoting reference CAD 3656/20OCT20.
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