Family slam danger driver’s ‘woefully inadequate’ sentence

LEFT IN A WHEELCHAIR ... Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrick with their daughter Jessica.
LEFT IN A WHEELCHAIR ... Chris Bootes and Lisa Orrick with their daughter Jessica.

AFTER the case, Jessica Bootes’ mother Lisa Orrock said: “We are so thankful Jessica has survived, but the past four months have been a nightmare.

“We attended South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court with the anticipation we would get justice for Jessica.

“While we understand the magistrates are limited by statute and guidelines, we feel the sentence, imposed for the early guilty plea by the defendant, of only a £250 fine and six penalty points is woefully inadequate; especially if you take into account the sentence imposed on our beloved Jessica is for life.

“Even at court, after the victim statements were read out in full, we don’t believe the defendant showed any remorse or compassion, but it would have helped all of us had he done so.

“I don’t believe this sentence sends out the right message to help prevent accidents.

“A stronger sentence would show all drivers they have to take more responsibility for their actions on the roads.”

Jessica is now in a wheelchair and is only able to get out of it with use of a specially made leg splint, training shoes and helmet.

She has no use of her right arm, her speech is limited to single words and the family has also found out this week she has lost the sight in her right eye.

Lisa added: “Jessica was due to start school in September but now it’s like she is back to square one having to learn how to talk and communicate again. She is very brave but it’s tough to deal with.

“Since March 4, when Jessica’s collision occurred, we as a family have suffered deeply and struggled to come to terms with the serious head injuries inflicted on our daughter.

“We had to endure the trauma of wondering whether Jessica would survive, but thankfully due to the skill of the staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary PICU, Jessica pulled through.

“Each and every one of them were fantastic as were the staff on Ward 1B.”

Jessica’s brother Josh, 13, said in a victim statement read out in court: “It breaks my heart to see Jessica in a wheelchair and always having to take medicines. I just wish I could go back in time. I miss MY Jessica.”

Jessica will need specialist rehabilitation, therapy and equipment to help live her life and the family’s lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are working on a civil case to secure vital funds.

John Davis, a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are working with the family to secure the necessary funds so that they get the specialist support they need to help maximise Jessica’s recovery.

“Much is unknown at this stage as to how she will respond to treatment and rehabilitation, but the family is determined to ensure that she has the best possible quality of life ahead of her.”