3rd Dec, 2016

Man to stand trial following crash with Kenilworth woman

Leamington Editorial 22nd Sep, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A MAN is to stand trial over a head-on crash which left a young Kenilworth woman fighting to walk again.

Battling Hollie Smith was on her way home from work as an Yves Saint Laurent beauty account manager in November when she was involved in the smash.

The 24-year-old suffered life-threatening injuries and no fewer than 27 broken bones – including crushed legs, a broken back and neck, and a fractured skull.

Hollie, from Kenilworth, was trapped in her car for an hour and 20 minutes following the collision on the B4100 between Burton Dassett and Gaydon before fire crews cut her free and she was rushed to hospital.

Some of her shattered bones had pushed through the skin, and her blood loss was said to have left her perilously close to death before she was given five pints of blood in hospital.

She spent months recovering in hospital, the first six weeks of it flat on her back and able to move only her arms.

Once she was able to move, she began her painful battle to walk again – and although she still has to spend most of her time in a wheelchair, she has managed to walk a short distance with the aid of a frame.

Hollie was in the public gallery at Warwick Crown Court with her mother to see the other driver, Mark Barnes, plead not guilty to causing her serious injury by driving his Audi A6 estate dangerously on November 10 on the B4100 Banbury Road at Temple Herdewyke.

The court heard Barnes, of Hill Close, Southam, had put forward a defence he suffered some kind of seizure, which was rejected by prosecutor Rebecca Wade.

She said: “There is the fact that – albeit he knew he had that condition – he did not inform the DVLA, which will form a feature of the trial.”

Miss Wade explained the 49-year-old’s defence amounted to one of ‘automatism’ on the basis of a seizure. And she pointed out that was similar to a defence of insanity, in that it would require two medical reports to establish it as a defence.

Recorder Christopher Goodchild observed: “The trial will be concentrating not so much on the fact of the accident, but on the medical evidence.”

The case was adjourned for trial on July 17 – 20 months after the life-changing collision, and Barnes was granted bail.