Bike crash left friend disabled

Anthony Smithey
Anthony Smithey
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A man was left with horrific injuries, including brain damage, when a stolen bike he was riding pillion on crashed into a car.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Lee Armitage got on the back of the Honda 250cc vehicle behind his friend, Anthony Smithey of Batley, in December 2012.

The bike had been stolen from Wakefield Pallets in Ossett by Gage Wadsworth and Ryan Laffey of Ossett, after Laffey, who worked there, had fallen out with his boss over a Christmas bonus.

Prosecuting, Paul Nicholson told the court Smithey and Mr Armitage reached speeds of up to 70mph, were not wearing helmets and the bike had no lights. A witness said he had never seen driving like it when he heard the vehicle approaching.

The crash, in Wakefield Road, Dewsbury, flung both men on to the ground.

Smithey, who was already banned from driving, was injured but concious and became abusive to people who tried to help him.

Mr Armitage, from Dewsbury, was unconscious and was rushed to hospital with life threatening injuries including a fractured skull and brain damage. The court heard he was still in a wheelchair and would need specialist rehabilitation.

Mitigating, Charlotte Worsley said 20-year-old Smithey felt genuine remorse at the impact on his friend.

She said although there had been some positive improvement in the months since, “he knows he has had life-changing injuries as a result of this incident.”

She said Smithey, of Dark Lane, Batley, had suffered injuries himself, including a fractured pelvis and a shattered wrist. He also had to have a knee replaced and needed further surgery.

“It is a tragedy this has happened, it has ruined two young lives,” she added.

Smithey was sent to a young offender institution for three and a half years after pleading guilty to handling the stolen bike, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving while disqualified.

He was banned from driving for 10 years and must take an extended retest.

Laffey, 22, of Bank Street, Ossett, admitted burglary and was given a 12 month community order with 15 days activity requirement and 150 hours unpaid work.

Wadsworth, 21, of Pickering Drive, Ossett, who admitted burglary and a subsequent dangerous driving of a quad bike in July last year, along with driving without a licence and no insurance, was given 12 weeks in prison suspended for two years with 150 hours unpaid work and 30 days activity.

Judge Sally Cahill QC said Smithey had driven at speed on a vehicle that should not have been on the road, an accident was inevitable.

“The consequences for your pillion passenger were absolutely devastating,” she said. “The effect is for the rest of his life he is going to suffer the most severe consequences of this accident.”