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JAILED: Show-off biker left boy disabled after horror crash

A biker who almost killed a boy while ‘showing off’ with the child riding pillion has been jailed for three years.

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Martin Charles was sentenced to three years in prison

Doctors told the devastated parents of Joshua Locke, who suffered 'catastrophic' life-changing injuries in the crash, to 'grieve for the son they had,' Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

He will be seriously disabled for the rest of his life.

Tragedy struck as Martin Charles took the 12-year-old, who he treated as his stepson, for a 30-minute 'spin' on the back of a stolen 125cc machine against the wishes of the youngster's mother Sarah Leek, said Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting.

The 30-year-old rider - who had neither a valid licence nor insurance and gave his helmet to the boy to wear - went onto the wrong side of the road to overtake a line of traffic waiting to turn right into the Asda supermarket car park in Daisy Street, Coseley.

But the car at the head of the queue started to turn before the bike reached it and ploughed into the Ford Fiesta with terrible consequences.


Experts said the machine had been travelling at an average speed of 42mph in a 30 limit before the August 6 smash.

The impact catapulted it over the car and onto the pavement where it hit a passing pedestrian without serious injury.

Joshua's adult helmet was too large and flew off in the collision as he was hurled to the ground.

He was unconscious and bleeding from the head when eye witnesses reached him.

The defendant - who suffered three broken ribs, two fractured vertebrae and a broken thigh - rang Ms Leek, with whom he had previously been in a relationship, and she rushed to the scene.

She slapped him across the face when she realised what had happened and said she told him to go and care for three other children he was supposed to be looking after.

'Pattern of bad driving'

Charles maintained he panicked and did not report the incident to police who tracked him down to Sandwell Hospital where he was being treated.

He had ridden at 50mph in a 30 limit and shot across a junction without stopping before the crash, declared Mr Searle who added: "He did not just make a bad decision, this was part of a pattern of bad driving on a bike he should not have been on in the first place."

The defendant said he borrowed the motorcycle from a person he was not prepared to identify and claimed not know it was stolen.

Mr Gurdeep Garcha, defending, said: "He blames nobody but himself for causing catastrophic injuries to a child he cared for very deeply.

"They were going for a spin around the area and he got carried away. It was an aberration."

'Twisted bravado'

Charles from Fereday Street, Tipton, with no previous criminal convictions, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and having neither insurance nor a valid licence.

Judge Dean Kershaw said: "You put that young boy on a bike to show off because he was, as far as you are concerned, your stepson.

"It was some kind of twisted bravado to impress a 12-year-old while he was inadequately protected."

It is too early for predictions as to the long term effect of Joshua's serious brain injuries.

His mother said she saw a future of suffering for him and was frightened he would not remember her.

Sgt Alan Wood, from West Midlands Police's Collision Investigation Unit, said: "His riding was dangerous in simply allowing the boy to be on the motorbike in incorrect clothing, never mind riding in the manner that he did.

"The 12-year-old has been left with catastrophic injuries and he still remains in hospital today.

"Charles ’ behaviour that day was appalling and he rightly now serves time behind bars as a consequence of his unacceptable behaviour."

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