St Albans drink-driver left his best pal tetraplegic after crash on Harpenden Road

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 March 2015

Court report

Court report


A St Albans man whose dangerous driving left his best friend unable to walk again, has been jailed for two years.

Thomas Bailey, 27, of Pinewood Close, pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court to a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

after the crash in Harpenden Road on March 29 last year, left his friend Billy Unite with life-changing injuries.

Now tetraplegic, Billy has lost the use of limbs after suffering brain and spinal injuries and has severe difficulties communicating.

Davina Mootien, prosecuting, told Recorder Patrick Fields, hearing the case, how Bailey left his home to pick his friend up and a young woman who were out drinking that night in the city.

He met the pair and drunk some alcohol himself before the three left in his car.

The court then heard how, in Harpenden Road, near to where the old fire station used to be, his Mitsubishi sped up behind another car, well over the 30 mph speed limit.

To avoid driving into the back of the car, Bailey pulled out and overtook before cutting back into the lane.

However, his car hit the kerb and mounted the verge before spinning out of control into the oncoming lane and colliding with a Volvo.

Afterwards, Billy, who had been a front seat passenger, was found lying in the road while the young woman in the back and Bailey only suffered minor injuries.

The level of alcohol in Bailey’s blood was later tested and he was found to be over the legal limit.

The court was told Bailey and Billy Unite had been like brothers because of the closeness of their friendship.

In a remarkable act of forgiveness, members of Billy’s family were present to support Mr Bailey and had provided character references for him.

Will Noble, defending, said Bailey was a frequent visitor to Billy in hospital, often taking Billy’s grandmother with him.

Passing sentence, Recorder Fields told Bailey: “It’s been accepted on your behalf that your driving that night was of a shockingly bad standard.”

He said Billy had suffered “quite appalling injuries” and that Bailey would have to live with his remorse for the rest of his life.

He added that the fact Billy’s own family had shown Bailey mercy and compassion was honourable and humbling.

Jailing Bailey for two years, Recorder Fields banned him from driving for three years and endorsed his licence.

He was told he would also have to take an extended driving test before he could get behind the wheel of a car again.

More news stories

Yesterday, 09:00

A former St Albans district councillor received an MBE at Buckingham Palace for his work helping the community.

Yesterday, 09:00

Court results published by the Herts Ad are taken from St Albans, Stevenage and Hatfield Magistrates Court and are published without prejudice.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

This year’s St Albans pantomime Cinderella only opened on Thursday night and tickets are already on sale for 2019’s Christmas show.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

More than a quarter of the pubs in St Albans district have shut since 2001, new data has shown.


I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards