Wed, 12 Dec 2018
A YOUTH who mowed down a pedestrian in a horrific, hit-and-run incident has been sent into custody.
During a trial last month, Reading Crown Court heard Aaron Vass had been showing off by speeding repeatedly around the Broadway in Thatcham, with music blaring from his Vauxhall Corsa, before smashing into his victim, 20-year-old pedestrian Cameron ‘Cammy’ O’Sullivan.
CCTV footage showed Vass’ car hurtling half the length of the Broadway towards stationary pedestrians, who were clearly visible in the middle of the road.
Instead of braking, the car veered directly towards them, striking Mr O’Sullivan and catapulting him into the air.
Eighteen-year-old Vass, who lives at Northfield Road, Thatcham, denied causing serious injury by dangerous driving on the Broadway on October 31 last year.
Jurors took two hours and eight minutes to unanimously convict him of the offence.
Vass also has a previous conviction for possessing a prohibited weapon, namely a stun gun, in 2017.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, prosecutor Suki Dhadda outlined the life-changing injuries sustained by Mr Cameron.
The court heard that a smashed jaw had caused severe drooling and that Mr Cameron now suffered from anxiety.
Ms Dhadda said: “He also suffers mood swings and can no longer drink alcohol because of his spleen.
“He has been financially affected by his inability to work.”
John Simmons, for Vass, acknowledged that “a tragedy occured that night” but said: “There were a number of people not covering themselves in glory and behaving idiotically.”
He criticised a pre-sentence report which suggested Vass’ actions had been akin to attempted murder, adding: “This is simply not borne out by the facts.”
Mr Simmons pointed out that his client had been only 17 at the time of the offence and that the victim had thrown a coat at his car while some of his friends had been taunting Vass.
He urged the court to pass a suspended sentence.
Judge Nigel Daly told Vass: “Other people were mucking around, including Mr O’Sullivan and [Mr O’Sullivan’s friend] Ty Driscoll.
“But you were driving the car.
“It all went wrong that evening due to idiocy; because you were showing off and thought you would give them a bit of a scare.
“You increased speed and swerved towards pedestrians.
“Mr O’Sullivan was being stupid and he paid for it – you caused him serious injuries.
“I know you don’t fully accept responsibility for what happened.”
Judge Daly sentenced Vass to eight months in a young offender institution, half of which he will serve in custody and the remainder in the community on licence.
The period since the trial which Vass has spent subject to a curfew will also be deducted from the time he will actually spend locked up.
In addition, Vass was banned from driving for 28 months and must take an extended driving test before regaining his licence.
Finally, he was ordered to pay a statutory victim services surcharge of £115.