April 18, 2024
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By Tom Mack

Matthew Sturgess, despite the presence of multiple witnesses and CCTV footage at the scene, fled and denied driving the vehicle

A driver who was speeding around a turn collided into a car on the opposite side. The accident caused life-long injuries. Sturgess fled after the accident, but Christopher Graham, 54 was stuck in the vehicle that had crumpled. He would remain bedridden for eight months.

Sturgess, at 9am, on the morning of November 5, 2020 in Leicester, left his apartment, located in Wicklow Drive. He got into a Honda Civic, for which he had neither a driving license nor insurance. He drove off in a Honda Civic at high speeds, but lost control of the vehicle on a curve.

The Honda of Sturgess was sandwiched in between Mr Graham’s Nissan Micra and the parked vehicle. On impact, the Nissan engine of Mr Graham’s car pushed him back, causing both his legs to be broken, one rib to break, as well as injuries caused by flying glass.

Sturgess, 32 years old, a man who had escaped severe injury, climbed out of his Honda, walked off, and dumped his jacket in the backyard nearby to hide his identity. The Nissan had to be cut into five pieces by firefighters to release Mr Graham.

He returned home and picked up his bicycle, then cycled to the scene of the accident, where he rummaged around the passenger-side. Sturgess was accused by a neighbor of being the one who caused the accident and driving the car. He claimed to be a passenger in a car, retrieving the belongings of whoever was sitting there.

Sturgess was restrained at the accident scene by the witness who knew he had been driving. Leicestershire Police were called to the scene. Sturgess lied about being not in the Honda Civic at the time of the accident, despite the fact that Mr Graham and three other witnesses identified him as the Honda driver.

Sturgess was diagnosed as having schizophrenia in 2000. After being charged, and after the case was heard, Sturgess pleaded guilty to serious injury caused by reckless driving. The lawyers for Sturgess argued that he wasn’t mentally fit to make a decision.

In May, he changed the plea from guilty to guilty. Sturgess was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court Thursday. The court learned that he has 34 prior offences including driving with a disqualification, dealing in class A drugs and driving without insurance.

Pree Brada said that Sturgess was “extremely sorry”, and what he had done was not in character. She proposed a sentence of suspended jail time with curfew.

When Recorder David Richards sentencing Sturgess he stated: “Your conduct has caused an immense amount of harm and that harm will be with Mr Graham for a lifetime.” “Ms Brada says you are very sorry. You may be.”

Sturgess’s disqualification for three years began after he was released from prison nine months later.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Graham, now walking with crutches, explained that he was returning from a 9-hour warehouse work shift at the time of his accident. He claimed he could not avoid the collision despite seeing that his car was out of control.

It was a good job by the judge and I am grateful for it. My legs are now held together with screws. This has completely changed my life.

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