A WOMAN enjoying pre-Christmas celebrations was left with devastating injuries after being sent flying through the air when a van driver ploughed into her.

Vicky Theasby was walking home with her husband and friends at around 8pm on December 23 last year when her life was changed forever.

The 38-year-old was hit by a van, driven illegally by Andrew Kinlan, that was speeding above the 30mph speed limit on Wynyard Road, Hartlepool.

The Northern Echo: Owton Manor Social Club, near where Mrs Theasby was knocked over. Picture: GOOGLEOwton Manor Social Club, near where Mrs Theasby was knocked over. Picture: GOOGLE

Teesside Crown Court heard that she suffered catastrophic physical and mental injuries as a result of the impact and spend months in hospital but is ‘highly unlikely’ to ever make a full recovery.

Her injuries included four fractures to the spine which has left her paralysed, short term memory loss due to a serious head injury and she lives in constant pain.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said according to witnesses Kinlan showed little remorse after seeing the level of her injuries and fled the scene.

Mrs Theasby’s victim impact statement outlined the catastrophic impact that her injuries have had on her and her husband’s life.

She said: “She feels like a small child and pretty much rely on others for everything.”

Talking about eyewitness Robert Rumble’s account of the incident, Miss Atkinson said: “He was disgusted by what he saw as the defendant didn’t seem to care.”

The 49-year-old, of Goldsmith Avenue, Hartlepool, had earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop after an accident, driving without a licence or insurance and driving without due care and attention.

In mitigation, Matthew Collins, maintained that his client had been in shock following the incident and was not acting in a 'nonchalant' way.

He told the court that when Mrs Theasby’s husband, Darren, shouted repeatedly ‘what have you done, what have you done?’– the defendant panicked and ran away.

Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed Kinlan for 12 months for aggravated vehicle taking and issued no separate penalty for the other offences.

She said: "There is no sentence I can pass that will make Mrs Theasby, her husband or family, feel any better in the circumstances."

He was also banned from driving for two and a half years.