THE mother of a toddler left paralysed from the waist down in a devastating crash said she was relieved that the driver had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Then aged just 20 months, the little girl suffered brain and spinal injuries and spent two months in hospital following the crash. She is now confined to a wheelchair.

Last May, she was a passenger in a taxi in Newcastle which was hit by a Ford Fiesta driven by Peter Jolley, from Leeds.

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The 36-year-old driver was jailed for 14 months at Newcastle Crown Court today and banned from the roads for three years after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and careless driving.

The mother of the victim, who has asked not to be named, said: “It has been a tough time since the accident which left my daughter with life-changing injuries.

“She has shown so much strength that I am constantly in awe of her and so proud of her.

“She has received a significant amount of support and rehabilitation and is now making significant gains in her recovery. The police and hospital staff involved since the accident have been absolutely fantastic. I cannot praise them enough.

“She has a long road to recovery but I hope that with ongoing rehabilitation and assistance she will be able to live a full and happy life”.

She added: “I’m really relieved that the driver pleaded guilty. I feel that we can now put the accident behind us and move on with the rest of our lives.”

Sergeant Jason Ryder, of Northumbria Police's Motor Patrols department, said: "Peter Jolley’s driving was clearly dangerous and he was driving far too fast for both the conditions and the speed limit.

"His actions have caused devastating and far reaching consequences for the child and her family”.

Fran Mayes, from lawyers Irwin Mitchell, said: “This little girl and her family have shown amazing bravery, they have been inspirational.

“She is making fantastic progress, but will now have lifelong needs for support and rehabilitation.

“We continue to work with the family to secure a settlement to fund her ongoing recovery and any additional support she needs as she adjusts to life with her disability.”