Carjacker who crippled mother jailed indefinitely

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A carjacker who mowed down a mother-of-four in her own car, leaving her wheelchair-bound, was jailed indefinitely today.

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

"At the time of these offences, two worlds collided - that of an innocent family woman and that of two crack addicts concerned only with themselves."

The judge told Kevin Richardson he may never be released if he could not prove he no longer posed a danger to the public.

He went on: "The case is as grave as any of its kind could be."

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

"You are volatile and unpredictable, particularly when you are on drugs or seeking them."

Napper was disqualified from driving for two years and Richardson for 10 years.

Moments before he ran Mrs Johnson over, Richardson was frothing at the mouth as he screamed at her: "If you don't get out of the way, I'm going to f****** kill you."

Tony Ventham, defending Richardson, described him as a "Jekyll and Hyde" character whose violent side came out when he used drugs.

He said his client had been on a "two-day bender of using cocaine" prior to the attack and took the Citroen Picasso on the spur of the moment so he could drive home, having spent the night in a drug house.

Mrs Johnson's injuries were so serious that she could have died. Only the prompt actions of a passer-by who went to her aid, and the swift arrival of an ambulance, saving her life.

She needed a transfusion of 30 pints of blood and may never walk again, the court heard.

Charles Ward-Jackson, prosecuting, said she would be left with a permanent disability, even if an operation due to take place in January gives her the use of her right leg again.

Richardson has a long string of convictions for violent crimes dating back to 1988.

He has four children and has expressed "genuine remorse" for his actions, Mr Ventham said.

Judge John told Richardson that if he had been given a determinate sentence for the offences he would have been jailed for 15 years.

The judge said: "The background to this case could hardly be more tragic.

"Caroline Johnson, a working woman with a husband, two children and two stepchildren to whom she is devoted, left her house one morning in December 2008 to clear the ice from the windscreen of her car before taking her son to school.

"Many others were doing the same that morning all over the county and the country.

"What happened in the next few minutes has devastated that innocent woman's life."

Addressing Richardson and Napper, who did not react as they were sentenced, the judge added: "You two, bent only on getting crack cocaine and getting warm saw her car with the engine running and hijacked it."

He said Richardson deliberately drove at Mrs Johnson knowing she was in front of the car.

Speaking outside court, Mrs Johnson said: "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.

"I would like to thank Thames Valley Police for all their hard work in bringing these people to justice."

Mrs Johnson was in a coma for 14 days after the attack and underwent five operations.

When she was admitted to hospital, she had suffered a cardiac arrest and was in a critical condition.

Detailing her injuries, Judge John said she fractured both ankles, both arms, both shoulders and her right femur.

Her pelvis was broken in eight places and she had also suffered eight broken ribs, a punctured lung and internal bleeding.

Mrs Johnson, who is now registered disabled, was in hospital for two and a half months and had to spend her first six months at home living downstairs.

Judge John said the victim impact statement written by Mrs Johnson was "heartrending".

He said: "She needs help with most of her daily and physical functions.

"As well as her husband's care, her 14-year-old son does so much for her that she describes him as having become almost a parent to her.

"A huge emotional strain has been put on her marriage.

"The psychological consequences are considerable.

"There are great obstacles to be overcome.

"Her family life has been altered forever.

"Her life can never be the same again, even if she makes a more substantial recovery. This summary is inadequate to convey her suffering and her great courage."

Detective Inspector Steve Armstead, who led the investigation into the incident, commended Mrs Johnson's bravery.

The court had heard during the trial how she stood over the car's bonnet in a fruitless bid to stop Richardson driving off.

Mr Armstead said: "Caroline Johnson is a very brave woman who was not willing to just stand by and watch two people steal her car.

"Sadly, due to the actions of Kevin Richardson, she was seriously injured and is still suffering the consequences today.

"We hope that today's sentences will in some way bring a sense of closure for Caroline, enabling her to continue rebuilding her life in the knowledge that those responsible for her injuries have been brought to justice."

He also warned other people not to be an "easy target" by leaving their cars warming up on the drive.

He added: "The events of that day are probably unique in terms of their severity.

"The chances of any other person being subject to such extreme violence are very remote.

"However, this incident serves as a reminder of the dangers of leaving the vehicle keys in the ignition.

"There are criminals who use this opportunity to steal vehicles in a more pre-planned way and cars warming up on driveways are an easy target.

"In addition, vehicles on filling station forecourts are equally at risk when the keys are not removed."

He said Richardson had a "long history of criminality, in the main fuelled by class A drugs".

Mrs Johnson wept as she watched proceedings from the public gallery, accompanied by her husband and father.

Had she died of her injuries, Richardson would have faced a murder charge, the court was told.

Judge John said: "A combination of factors meant that her death was just averted.

"A passer-by gave immediate aid, an ambulance was near-by, the hospital was not too distant.

"But for those factors, her own strength of will and courage, and the skill of the surgeons, she would have died."

Richardson, who wore a dark suit for today's sentencing, has previously appeared in court 24 times, in connection with 55 offences.

He was just 13 when he committed his first offences - two robberies, and an assault with intent to rob.

Richardson was first jailed in 1995, and custodial sentences in 1995, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 and this year followed.

When Mrs Johnson was attacked, it was less than five months since he had been released from his most recent jail term, for perverting the course of justice.

Judge John told him: "In my judgment, you are a selfish, self-centred man who thinks of no-one but himself.

"The fact that drug-taking absorbed your life, whatever steps you have taken since your remand in custody, means that you are more rather than less likely to commit further serious offences of violence with grave consequences."

His described the attack on Mrs Johnson as "cold and calculated" and said he did not accept that Richardson was fully remorseful.

Time that both Richardson and Napper have spent in custody since their arrests will count towards their sentences.