The family of a 10-year-old girl who suffered a fractured skull when she was struck by a speeding car driven by a drug-driver have said they are continuing to suffer a ‘life sentence’ as a result of the collision after the driver was jailed for 14 months.
Elisha Hills-Steedman was walking with her family on the pavement outside the Park Inn Hotel on Bourges Boulevard on February 12 when she was hit by the speeding Ford Focus driven by James Millard.
Elisha - who suffers from a rare chromosome disorder which means she is the same height and weight of a seven year old - was knocked to the ground alongside her mum, Michelle Steedman.
Elisha, from Bretton, suffered a fractured skull and other serious injuries, while her mum suffered a concussion and cuts and bruises.
Millard (22) of High Street, Fletton, sped from the scene, but after telling his mum what had happened, he went to the police to confess later that day.
Yesterday (Thursday) he was jailed for 14 months after admitting causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and two counts of driving over the permitted drug limit.
Peterborough Crown Court was told Millard was travelling at 59mph when he lost control in the 30mph zone. His car had two tyres with insufficient tread on the wet road, and he also tested positive for both cocaine and cannabis, giving readings three times over the permitted limit.
Speaking after the sentence, Michelle said both Elisha and herself were still recovering from the effects of the crash.
She said: “Elisha is still getting bad sickness. We went on holiday to the Sea Life centre, but had to leave very quickly because the water was disorienting for her and she was sick. She is always getting travel sickness, which she never used to get. We don’t know how the fractured skull will affect her for the rest of her life.
“I still have concussion - I don’t recognise people anymore, I often burn the meals because I forget, and I can’t remember what my children like or don’t like.
“I will never forget seeing Elisha on the floor like that. You can’t. It is like a life sentence. “He will be out in seven months, whereas we are suffering a life sentence because of what he did. I don’t think he got long enough.”
Elisha was given the Child of Courage prize at the Pride in Peterborough Awards earlier this year following her brave recovery from the crash.
Nicola Devas, defending, urged a suspended sentence to be passed, telling the court Millard had no previous convictions recorded against him, other than two speeding matters dating back to 2014 and 2015.
She said he was of low intelligence, and added: “If he could turn the clock back, he would. He used the phrase ‘he is deeply ashamed’ and finds it hard to pit into words as to how the complainants must be feeling.”
She told the court Millard had taken the drugs on Friday night, and he did not feel he was impaired when he got behind the wheel.
Recorder Martin Oldham, sentencing, described the case as a tragedy both for Elisha and her family and for Millard.
Sentencing, he said: “It is very sad I have to sentence you today for this accident. It is a tragedy for you and equally a tragedy for the family of Elisha.”
Recorder Oldham said the maximum sentence the law allowed him to pass was five years - and Millard was eligible for maximum credit having pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and made confessions to police.
But he said he thought Elisha’s family would think it was ‘barking mad’ to look at the sentence he had to pass.
Millard was given a 14 month sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and a four month sentence for each of the drug driving charges, to be served concurrently. He was also banned from driving for three years.