A MOTORIST suffered serious injuries when he crashed into a tree after losing control at high speed on a dual carriageway.

Richard Gilderoy suffered a double fracture of both legs, broken bones in his feet, bruising to the brain and a punctured lung in the collision, on the A167 between Durham and Chester-le-Street.

Durham Crown Court heard his BMW 530 was seen overtaking other vehicles at "excessive speed" on the northbound stretch, between Pity Me and Plawsworth roundabouts, at 5.40pm on January 18 last year.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said an Audi A3, was also seen heading at high speed northbound, a short distance behind the BMW.

A police accident expert later estimated both cars were travelling at up to 87-miles per hour on the 60-limit road.

Mr Baker said as the BMW approached Plawsworth roundabout, where the road veers slightly to the left, it clipped the central reserve, spun across both lanes and hit a tree on the opposite verge.

Debris shattered over the road on impact and Gildereoy, who was helped from the wreckage, was briefly rendered unconscious.

The court heard he spent a considerable time receiving emergency treatment and has made two subsequent return visits to hospital.

Mr Baker said when later interviewed, Gilderoy said he had little recollection of the accident.

The Audi driver, Neil David Walker, confirmed he has known Gilderoy for 14 years and visited him that day.

Both set off driving in the same direction at the same time.

Mr Baker said it was considered they may have been racing, but, following a review of evidence, “it may have been more of a case of some showing off.”

Both 32-year-old Gilderoy, of Onslow Terrace, Langley Moor, and 33-year-old Walker, of Bolton Close, Newton Hall, Durham, admitted careless driving, having previously denied dangerous driving.

Mr Baker said, following the case review, with advice taken from police and private motoring experts, those pleas were considered “acceptable”.

Martin Towers, mitigating for Gilderoy, said it has literally been a “shattering” event in his life, for which he still suffers repercussions, as he has been unable to work since.

David Lamb, for Walker, said he was “less seriously involved”, as the court heard he was able to pull up to go to Gilderoy’s assistance after the collision.

Judge Robert Adams said “excessive speed” was an aggravating feature of the case, while the accident appeared to result from “momentary inattention” on Gilderoy’s part.

Both were fined £300, and ordered to pay £105 costs and £30 statutory surcharge.

Gilderoy received eight driving penalty points, but no disqualification, while Walker was awarded three driving penalty points.