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Prolific thief jailed after crushing woman during garage getaway

By John Scott | Sandwell | News | Published:

A prolific thief who badly hurt a woman after stealing fuel and food from a Black Country petrol station has been locked up.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

Leesa Wise was on the run from police when she broke the left leg of Jamie Charalmbous while trying to escape from the garage where she'd stolen £27 worth of fuel and £28 worth of food.

Wise swung to the left while reversing without looking and hit Ms Charalmbous, who was standing at the corner of a stationary Vauxhall Zafira in a parking bay, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Ms Charalmbous was crushed between the two vehicles as the stolen Nissan Note driven by Wise struck the Zafira so hard it shunted it forward at the BP Service Station in New Birmingham Road, Tividale.

Wise, who had 29 previous convictions involving 79 separate offences, was not linked to the theft of the Nissan but was captured on CCTV raiding the shop before making her ill-fated getaway, said Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting.

The 35-year-old defendant was on bail for another offence and had a warrant out for her arrest when the incident happened at 7.45am on April 30, the court was told.

Trapped

"She got into the stolen vehicle and drove off in such a hurry she paid no attention to the vehicle behind her," continued the prosecutor.

"She was reversing and, as she turned, collided with Ms Charalmbous, trapping her between the two cars.

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"It was obvious a collision had taken place but the defendant drove off without stopping.

"It was a bad driving manoeuvre without any consideration for the victim."

The left leg of Ms Charalmbous was fractured just below the knee and she had to wear a full leg brace for six weeks following the incident, which also left her with tendon and nerve damage.

Wise, formerly of Aziz Isaac Close, Oldbury, was a 'regular dishonest offender' who had been offered 'numerous opportunities to reform her behaviour,' concluded Mr Searle.

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Mr Niall Skinner, defending, conceded: "By far the worst element of this was that she drove off.

"She accepts that she could, and should, have stayed to help, call an ambulance and so on.

"But she was not thinking straight, a state she had been in for 15 years while living the life of a hapless Class A drug addict.

"This is the first time somebody has been badly hurt as a result of her behaviour and it has made her determined to change her lifestyle."

Wise, now of Slade Road, Erdington, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, theft, making off without payment and driving with neither insurance nor a valid licence.

She was sent to prison by Judge Simon Ward who said: "You were a wanted woman with a terrible criminal record.

"I am sure that lawyers have told courts many times before that you intended to change your lifestyle."

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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