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Gloucestershire Business News

Unlicensed motorcyclist injured a child in Gloucestershire

An unlicensed motorcyclist who crashed into an 11-year-old boy, breaking his leg - and then sat the injured youngster on the petrol tank of his high powered machine and drove him home - has been jailed for a year.

Claude Bond, 29, had never passed a motorcycle test and his provisional licence had expired by the time he illegally rode the Yamaha 700cc performance bike for the first time - and careered into the boy in Gloucester city centre on March 27, 2023.

After hitting the boy, Bond lifted him onto the bike, ignoring the advice of a witness to call an ambulance, and drove him home - putting the lad at risk of further injury, especially as he did not have a crash helmet, Gloucester Crown Court was told.

Jailing Bond, and banning him from driving for two and a half years, the judge, Recorder Richard Mawhinney, told him that it must have been 'horrifying' for the injured boy to be carried on the motorbike in such dangerous circumstances.

The Recorder said: "A by-stander heard the boy crying out that his leg hurt but you ignored this and made a conscious decision to put the boy on the petrol tank and take him home."

"You didn't call the emergency services because you knew you didn't have the legal paperwork.

"When you sped off you drove through two red traffic lights. This was a complete lack of judgement. You ignored the rules of the road. You were carrying a passenger, a child, in a precarious and dangerous manner. He was injured and wasn't wearing a helmet or any other protective clothing. "

The court had been told that it was Bond's first ride on his new £7,000 Yamaha YZF 700cc racing bike, which his mother had bought for him. As a learner, he was entitled to drive only motorcycles up to 125cc.

Prosecutor Charlotte Evans said the collision happened at the junction of Falkner Street and Midland Road in Gloucester at about 3.20pm on March 27, when the 11-year-old boy was crossing the road on the way home from school. The bike was 'half a football pitch away' when the boy first saw it approaching.

The prosecutor said: "He realised that the bike rider was revving his bike louder as he got nearer to him."

"The boy recalls hearing the motorbike skidding as the motorcyclist tried to swerve round him but failed to complete the manoeuvre and collided with him.

"Following the collision, with the young victim crying out that his leg was hurting, Bond decided not to phone the police or call for an ambulance. Instead, he picked him up and placed him on the bike's petrol tank.

"A witness to the collision told Bond that he should be calling for an ambulance. Bond told the concerned bystander that he was going to take him straight to hospital himself.

"Instead, Bond took the boy to his home address on the bike without a helmet or any other protection. When they arrived at the boy's home, he carried him into the house and lay him out on the sofa. Bond then tried to get hold of the boy's mother and brother on the phone.

"He wasn't initially successful, but eventually he got hold of the mother and explained what had happened. The mother said she would call for an ambulance.

"At that point Bond left the boy's home and he was then seen driving through the city centre at speed and going through red traffic lights in Bruton Way and another red traffic light in Station Road."

The judge interjected: "A Yamaha YZF is a powerful 700cc motorbike. And for rider who hasn't passed his test, it is a big machine to handle. It is effectively a performance racing bike, without the two seats on a normal bike and it is fitted with a very high petrol tank.

"Quite what it would have been like to ride on the petrol tank without a helmet must have been horrifying.

"This bike is very big and very heavy, especially for somebody who had not passed his test. I understand the maximum engine size for a learner is 125cc. This limit is set for a reason."

The court was told that the young victim was taken from his home to hospital by ambulance, but due to the severity of the fracture to his tibia (shinbone) he remained at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for three days. The boy was initially referred to the fracture clinic but in the end his leg was placed in a cast with supporting bracing to help the healing process of multiple bony fragments.

The court heard that Bond had an expired provisional driving licence and because of this he didn't have valid insurance on the vehicle.

Ms Evans added: "At approximately 9pm on the day of the collision, Bond handed himself into the police station at Quedgeley where he was tested for alcohol and drugs but the results were negative.

"Bond gave a full and frank interview to police and he showed genuine remorse for his actions."

In a victim statement the 11-year-old victim said he was saddened not to have taken his year six Standardised Assessment Tests and not to have seen his school friends again that year.

He said that he suffers from flashbacks of the moments just before the bike collided with him.

The victim's mother stated that her son keeps saying "He knows where we live," and she has decided to return to her homeland in Ireland as she no longer feels safe living in the city.

She added: "Our lives have been turned upside down by this incident. My son's confidence has been impacted and we are uncertain what the long-term implications are.

"I had to give up work to provide the care he needs. I have since completely resigned my position. It was also upsetting to hear that his classmates had been upset by this.

"Because of the additional bracing to his leg, he had to occupy two seats on the airplane to Ireland. The move has also affected my elder son as this move to Ireland was being conducted while his exams were taking place."

Simon Goodman, defending, said: "When Bond handed himself into the police station he was showing extreme remorse for his actions earlier that day.

"He explains that he didn't call the police or ambulance because he knew his paperwork was not in order.

"In fact, every decision he made that day was the wrong one. Each time he made a decision, it was compounded by what came next. He chose to ride a bike he hadn't driven before. Instead of using his brakes or sounding his horn to warn the youth that he was coming and to get out of the way, he decided to rev the bike to make it sound louder.

"His actions were misplaced when he decided to take the boy home instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive. He'd checked him over before placing him on the motorbike.

"He did his best for the boy in taking him home and trying to contact his mother. He could have left him at the scene in the hands of bystanders until the ambulance arrived. It was one bad decision after another.

"Bond did try to care for the boy following the collision - however, this was carried out in a wholly inappropriate way.

"Bond admitted his guilt at the magistrates' court and, despite being the sole carer for a relative who has suffered a stroke, he has come to court today with his bag packed and prepared for a prison sentence."

The court was told that at the time of the collision Bond had been on parole from prison, having been released on licence from a sentence for drug dealing.

Bond of Falkner Street, Gloucester, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on March 27, 2023, causing serious injury by careless driving on the same date and having no valid third party insurance and driving without a valid licence on the same occasion.

Recorder Mawhinney told Bond: "At the time of this collision you had an expired provisional licence. You hadn't passed your test, yet you were riding a 700cc performance bike.

"The 11-year-old victim had looked both ways before crossing the road, but because of the speed you were travelling at, you couldn't avoid colliding with him. You even revved the bike to scare your victim."

"The only creditable decision you made that day was to volunteer yourself at the police station. The long-term effect on your victim has been considerable, both physically and mentally."

The judge said that only an immediate custodial sentence could be justified and stated that suspending it was not an option. He was also ordered Bond to pay £425 in court costs.

Bond was disqualified from driving for 30 months from the day he is released from prison and ordered to take an extended test to regain his licence. His licence will be endorsed for having no insurance or a valid licence.

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