A TEENAGER is facing jail after raiding a Good Samaritan’s house and crashing her car into a tree.
Liam Liddle, 19, claimed he had no recollection of how he came to be in the driving seat after suffering short-term memory loss in the Boxing Day accident in Victoria Road West, Hebburn.
He suffered a broken leg, a fractured eye socket and nose, and had to be cut out of the Suzuki Ignis car by firefighters.
Liddle, of Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, denied a charge of aggravated vehicle taking, but was convicted after a trial at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The case was committed to Newcastle Crown Court, where Liddle could be handed a prison sentence after breaching a suspended sentence.
He admitted using a motor vehicle without third party insurance and driving a motor vehicle otherwise than in accordance with the licence.
Michael Rose said Liddle had visited a family friend on Christmas Day last year at about 11pm and asked to use her phone after getting in a fight.
She had agreed to let him in, and gave him food and drink as well as allowing him to use the phone.
He said: “He was there for about 30 to 40 minutes before being asked to leave, as she had to work in the following morning.”
The woman was awoken by police at 5am to tell her that her car had been stolen.
The victim told the court: “I know him, as he is a friend of someone I fostered and I know his mother.
“I gave him some chocolate cake and a beer and we talked for about 15 minutes.
“He said he wanted to use the phone, as he had been in a fight. He didn’t look like he had been in a fight, I was sceptical.
“I was woken up at 5am by the police, but I couldn’t let them in the front door as my keys were missing. They told me my car had been in a very nasty accident. I had not given anyone permission to use it.”
She later found the conservatory door wide open and a number of items, including her iPad, laptop and bank cards, as well as her car keys, were missing.
She said no one else had visited the house that day, other than Liddle, and there was no sign of a break-in.
Liddle told the court that he was walking to a friend’s home in Jarrow when he was offered a lift in a car – later found to be the victim’s vehicle – by two pals.
He said he remembered going to one of the men’s homes, but could not remember how he had come to be driving the vehicle.
He told the court: “I had no idea that the car was stolen. I knew she had a car, but I didn’t know that was her car. I wouldn’t have driven it because she is a friend of the family.
“I don’t know how I ended up in the driving seat. I had short-term memory loss.”
Ian Haq, defending, said: “The vehicle could have been taken any time from 8pm in the evening.
“It could have been taken prior to him leaving the house or a number of hours after.”
Mr Rose added: “This young man is straining credibility. He asks you to believe that he got into a car belonging to a person, whose house he has just been at, and this is by sheer chance.
“This is a story that you can’t believe.”
Magistrates chairwoman Sarah Harper told Liddle: “Frankly, your evidence is not creditable at all.
“You are guilty of this offence.
“Due to the fact you have a suspended sentence order from the crown court I am going to commit you to Newcastle Crown Court.”
Liddle was given conditional bail.