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Face of 'Fast and Furious' driver who wrecked engaged Dudley couple's lives

This is the face of the driver whose "Fast and Furious" style driving left a young nurse unable to walk or talk again and her fiancé scarred for life.

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Melissa Cooper and Brandon Williams barely knew James Hendley when they accepted a lift from him on March 16, 2022.

Within hours he would have wrecked both their lives after what a judge would describe as 'driving like a character from a Fast and the Furious movie'.

Hendley was sentenced to three years behind bars last week and West Midlands Police released his custody image yesterday.

The 36-year-old downed Jack Daniels at several Brierley Hill pubs before getting behind the wheel and "showing off". Despite his girlfriend's pleas to "stop driving like an idiot" Hendley continued to drive erratically.

He lost control of his VW Touareg on Waterfront Way and crashed into a lamppost, tree and finally a barrier. The crash was so severe it catapulted Miss Cooper into the middle of the road and Mr Williams down an embankment.

James Hendley wrecked the lives of two young people

After seeing the extent of the injuries of his passengers, instead of phoning for an ambulance Hendley ran off to his ex-girlfriend's where he downed more whisky and took cocaine.

Miss Cooper would spend months in hospital and went from being a fun-loving newly qualified nurse with her life in front of her to being confined to her bed since the crash. Miss Cooper, 21, suffered brain damage, facial injuries, severe pelvic injuries and spinal injuries.

Her father, Paul said: "The last two years have been life -shattering. The reality is that I will never walk my daughter down the aisle, have grandchildren, and have a normal life. I have nothing to look forward to in life."

Mr Williams was found by his cousin in undergrowth and two years later is struggling with his mental health as well as his physical health, he has been unable to return to full time work.

Hendley continued to drive until he pleaded guilty to two counts of causing serious injury due to dangerous driving at Wolverhampton Crown Court in March, this year.

Hendley, of Thornleigh, Lower Gornal, was jailed for 40 months for seriously injuring Melissa Cooper, due to dangerous driving.

For Brandon Williams’ injuries he received a 28-month sentence, to be served consecutively. He was also banned from driving for four and a half years.

Sentencing Hendley Judge Amy Jacobs said: "There is no sentence I can pass or words I can say which can take Melissa and Brandon back to the way they were before they got in your car. This case demonstrates with clarity the devastating impact on innocent people when another person chooses to drive like a character out of a Fast and the Furious movie.

"However much you regret your actions, which I believe you do, you cannot ease the practical difficulties which each of them, especially Melissa, face in their daily lives.

"The tragedy is that after you serve your custodial sentence, you can no doubt rebuild your life, with your wife and children, but that is not open to Melissa, when all she did was accept a lift."

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