Chorley horror crash in stolen car led to innocent passenger losing organs

An arrogant car thief boasted: "They can't catch me" moments before a horrific crash that caused life changing injuries to his friend.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 3:45 pm

Terrified passengers, who had believed defendant Thomas Ward had permission to drive the Seat Leon, screamed at him to stop during the high speed police chase on the M61 at Chorley.

Moments later Ward, 21, of Amberley Drive, Manchester, struck a small truck he was undertaking and lost control, veering up a grass embankment and smashing into a tree, before rolling back into the hard shoulder and lane one.

Victim Matthew Walker, 21, lost his right kidney, gallbladder and part of his pancreas, small intestine, duodenum, and underwent an emergency laparotomy before spending three days in intensive care.

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He suffered multiple rib fractures and had to have a colostomy bag for 10 months.

In a victim statement he described how the crash, which wrecked his dream of joining the Army, affected him physically and emotionally and at first he "couldn't lift a kettle or climb the stairs."

He said he had "started screaming at Tom telling him to stop but he didn't."

Another man was left unconscious and another had severe seatbelt bruising.

Ward, who appeared at Preston's Sessions House Court from HMP Forest Bank, was jailed for three years with a four and a half year ban.

Prosecuting, Denise Fitzpatrick described how the incident unfolded from April 3 into April 4, 2018.

Ward and his now ex girlfriend were staying at a flat in Wythenshawe and she woke to find he had stolen her £500 Louis Vuitton handbag, which contained £1,000 makeup and £700 cash.

He had taken her car keys and car.

At midday he arrived at a friend's home and suggested he and the two friends, including Mr Walker, went for a day out in Blackpool,.

They stayed a B and B and were joined by two other friends.

The next day they were driving home in heavy rain at 12.45pm, when the car was spotted by police who followed him from the M55.

Ward tried to leave at junction 9 of the M61 but spotted another police car.

He drove back onto the southbound M61 weaving in and out of traffic on the sliproad. He then drove onto the hard shoulder. "

Ward overtook and undertook vehicles during the pursuit, reaching speeds of more than 100mph.

Ms Fitzpatrick said: "Inside the vehicle the passengers screamed at him telling him to stop, to which he replied: "They can't catch me."

"He tried to climb onto the back seat of the car."

Ward admits causing serious injury by dangerous driving, taking a Black Seat Leon car without consent, and stealing a Louis Vuitton bag and £700 cash, from Parise Atkinson.

He was also sentenced for a string of offences in Warrington, Cheshire.

Defending, Stephen Tettey said he had "never intended for anyone to be injured, not least a friend" and wanted to write a letter to apologise to Mr Walker and his family.

Judge David Potter said: " He is scarred for life and the injuries had a crushing effect on his social and domestic life."

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