Addict says sorry for car-jack attack

Indefinite sentence for crime that left victim in wheelchair
Click to follow
The Independent Online

A drug addict who ran over a woman after stealing her car as she prepared for the school run was yesterday jailed indefinitely.

Caroline Johnson, who has four children, was scraping ice from the windscreen of her people carrier when Kevin Richardson jumped behind the wheel and drove off, dragging her 65ft along the road in Langley, Berkshire. She was left for dead and, had it not been for the help of a passer-by, would not have survived.

Richardson, 34, had previously been convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent at Reading Crown Court and was yesterday handed a minimum sentence of seven and a half years.

In a letter written to the court, Richardson wrote: "A day doesn't go by when I remember what I done and feel sick of my actions."

Mrs Johnson was admitted to hospital in a critical condition. She was in a coma for 14 days and spent two and a half months in hospital. Her injuries included eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and a pelvis broken in eight places. She needed a transfusion of 30 pints of blood and five operations.

Judge Stephen John said that the seven-and-a-half-year term was a minimum and that Richardson was being jailed indefinitely for public protection.

Addressing Richardson and his co-defendant, Karen Napper, 34, who was also in the car, the judge said: "You two, bent only on getting crack cocaine and getting warm, saw her car with the engine running and hijacked it."

"This was a completely selfish and pointless offence with the gravest consequences for an utterly innocent, decent member of society."

The judge told Richardson his behaviour had been "despicable" and he would remain a "significant danger" unless he changed his way of life.

Mrs Johnson, who remains in a wheelchair and may not walk again, said after the sentencing: "It has been one year since the fateful morning that changed my life forever, but I am still here today and so grateful that justice has been done. Now I can move on with my life and put this stressful episode behind me."

Richardson, formerly of Chalvey Road, Slough, Berkshire, was also sentenced to 20 months for aggravated vehicle taking and 18 months for dangerous driving, to run concurrently. He had admitted both of those offences.

Napper, of Ledgers Road, Slough, admitted aggravated vehicle taking and was sentenced to 16 months. She was disqualified from driving for two years and Richardson for 10 years.

Letter of apology: 'Because of me, you are doing a life sentence'

Dear Mrs Johnson

I'd like to start this letter by making clear that it's not my intention for you to feel pity on me or have any influence on my sentencing, this letter is merely from my own will.

I have not had the chance to express myself, so I feel this will be my chance to firstly say sorry for what I have done. I know you probably don't want to listen to what I have to say, but please give me a chance.

Because of my actions, you are doing a life sentence, nothing that I say or do can change that. A day doesn't go by when I remember what I done and feel sick of my actions.

I feel that I need to do something with my life to make you feel that what has happened to you isn't in vain.

After watching the news and seeing your face, I realised it's time to stop using drugs and change my attitude. Nothing in the past has really given me an incentive to stop, but when you explained what you went through, I wished I wasn't born.

At first I blocked it out by using drugs, but later realised this aint (sic) the road to go down. Never in my life have I done something like this or of this nature. It hurts me everyday, realising what I've done. I feel that my personality has changed, I can't change the past, but I know that I can change the future and I know that it has to change before it's too late.

Days go by and every little thing I do that helps someone else makes the guilt a little easier to live with. It's time to take charge of myself, and take responsibility for my actions.

I know that I don't have the right to feel sorry for myself over this, but I'm sincerely remorseful and have been advised to seek counciling (sic) to help get my mind back on track once again.

Once again, I am so sorry for what I've done. I hope and pray that you will better (sic) and forgive me in the future if not now. You are in my prayers.

Take care, K. Richardson xxxx