A BANNED driver with several motoring convictions has been jailed after he struck a teenager crossing a road while attempting a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre, a court heard.

Gareth Shaun Ross was at the wheel of a car taken without the permission of the owner – his partner’s mother – as he approached a bollard at a pedestrian crossing point, on Burn Lane, Newton Aycliffe.

Durham Crown Court heard he veered the Vauxhall Zafira round the bollard, on the wrong side of the road, forcing an oncoming driver to brake suddenly.

Attempting to move back into the correct lane he swerved onto the pavement and struck pedestrian Kian Murphy, who was crossing.

The 14-year-old was flung 10m along the pavement and was treated in situ by paramedics before being taken to hospital for treatment for extensive abrasions, including painful gravel rash,

He also received a small laceration to the back of his head and for several months after the collision suffered headaches and nightmares recalling the incident.

Following consultation with Kian’s mother, Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said the headaches and nightmares no longer affect him.

Mr Morley said Ross got out of the car at the collision scene, at 2.30pm on June 23 last year.

A witness overheard him saying: “F***ing hell. I don’t f***ing believe this.

“I shouldn’t have been driving. I’ve had a drink.”

Both he and a passenger then fled, leaving the Zafira at the roadside.

When he was initially charged, the now 32-year-old defendant, who was living at Bates Close, Newton Aycliffe, at the time, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop after an accident, driving while disqualified and without insurance, but he denied dangerous driving.

He later changed his plea to guilty claiming a car pulled out in front of him, forcing the sudden need to overtake, but he later abandoned that account.

The court was told Ross has 25 convictions for 42 offences, including several motoring-related.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said Ross suffered a depressive condition at the time, partly affecting his decision-making in suddenly seeking to take the car for a drive.

Mr Finlay said Ross is remorseful over the incident, but that claim was questioned by Judge Christopher Prince, given his initial prevarication over culpability.

The court was told he has been in custody since December, during which time his family has moved from his former home due to negative reaction over the case.

Jailing him for 15 months Judge Prince said although it was only a short distance, the dangerous driving was aggravated by the fact he was banned, had taken the car without permission and failed to stay at the scene.

The judge also banned Ross from driving for 31 months and put in place a five-year restraining order forbidding contact with Kian Murphy.