'˜Lunatic' driver ploughed into two young girls after racing on Sunderland street
Two "racing" motorists have been put behind bars after a ten-year-old girl was left in hospital after being hit by one of their cars.
Neil Monck's Rover motor, that he was driving "like a lunatic", ploughed into the little girl and her 11-year-old friend as they walked along the pavement in Hendon with one of their mothers on April 3, 2015.
The young victim suffered a broken collar bone and right arm, multiple cuts and grazes, internal bleeding to her leg and needed two operations during a fortnight in hospital.
Her friend suffered whiplash injuries, cuts and bruising but did not require hospital treatment.
Monck, who was over the drink-drive limit, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and confessed he had been racing another vehicle before the smash.
Simon Perry denied the charge and was cleared by a jury but convicted of the lesser offence of dangerous driving.
Jurors accepted he was no longer racing in his Vauxhall Corsa when Monck's car hit the girls.
Prosecutor Graham O'Sullivan told the court Monck, 30, and Perry, 29, had left their nearby homes in Cairo Street at around the same time that day, which was unplanned.
The pair were encouraged to race when a youth at the side of the street did a "flamboyant bow" as they passed.
The court heard the neighbours, who knew each other, travelled at speeds of around 50mph in the residential area before Perry pulled back and out of the race.
Monck, who carried on at speed, lost control of his car, which an onlooker said he was "bombing" and "driving like a lunatic."
Mr O'Sullivan said; "Witnesses describe his car spinning. His car mounted the pavement and ended up in the opposite direction to which it had been driven."
Monck told police he had "decided to go for it" when he noticed Perry's car behind him.
He admitted he had been drinking beer before he got in the car.
The court heard Perry saw girls lying on the pavement after they had been hit by Monck's car but did not stop to offer any help.
Judge Paul Sloan QC sentenced Monck to 16 months behind bars with a two year driving ban.
He sentenced Perry to nine months behind bars with an 18 month road ban.
The judge told them: "I have no doubt, initially, the pair of you were racing.
"You, Perry, were trying to keep up with Monck, driving close to the rear of his vehicle for a period.
"The vehicles were separated by just a few metres.
"I am satisfied Perry gave up the chase or race.
"You, Monck, continued on at speed. Your vehicle spun around and you lost control of it, it mounted the nearside kerb and the vehicle struck the two girls and ended up facing the wrong way along the street."
The judge said it was an aggravating feature of Perry's behaviour that he "failed to stop at the scene where there had been a collision and there were two individuals on the ground".
Paul Cross, defending Monck, said the race was "spontaneous" and unplanned, which prosecutors accept.
Mr Cross said Monck has worked hard and stayed out of trouble since the smash.
Peter Walsh, defending Perry, said there had been no prior arrangement between the two men to meet or race their cars that day.
After the case, Chief inspector Dave Guthrie, of the Operations Department, said: "I am glad the judge has seen to fit to hand out custodial sentences to these two men who showed total disregard for the people of Sunderland.
"It is only through sheer luck that their actions did not result in a member of the public receiving more serious injuries but nonetheless it must have been terrifying for the two young girls who were hit by Monk’s car.
"Driving a vehicle in this manner is extremely dangerous and shows a total disregard for the safety other people using the roads.
"Our traffic officers and the Op Dragoon team will continue to work together to tackle dangerous drivers to ensure that they face the full consequences of their actions in court."