Man sentenced following St Albans ‘hit and run’

A MAN who left a young father fighting for his life after mowing him down outside a friend’s wake has been jailed.

Ricky Hall, 29, is facing a 21-month prison sentence after admitting knocking down 26-year-old Deryck Bell on Monday, September 20, in Mountbatten Close, St Albans.

As revealed by the Herts Advertiser at the time, an argument had broken out in the London Road Social Club where friends had gathered at the wake of Alex Lewis, 27, who had died while on holiday in Greece.

Mr Bell was struck by a black Ford Focus outside the venue, leaving him in a critical condition with several skull fractures and leg injuries.

Hall, of Francis Avenue, St Albans, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving. The prosecution had accepted a plea from Hall on the basis that he had not intentionally driven at the victim but that his actions were reckless.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Porter said: “ It seems Mr Hall was not welcome at the gathering. He was inappropriately dressed and he was acting in an arrogant manner. The argument continued outside the venue and Hall was heard to say ‘I could have you, I could break you’, before getting into a friend’s Ford Focus.

“He reversed out of a parking space at speed and a loud revving of the engine was heard. The car then went forward and struck Mr Bell full on and he was knocked on to the bonnet and the windscreen.

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“He fell onto the passenger side of the vehicle and his head struck the kerb. His legs were driven over as the car left the scene.”

Mr Bell was transferred to the National Hospital for Neurosurgery in London for emergency brain surgery and Mr Porter said the victim was still suffering from the ongoing physical and psychological effects of the incident, is still on medication and may need further surgery.

Defending, Piers Reed, said Hall, who had gone straight to the wake from his job as a building labourer, had only intended to scare Mr Bell, not hit him.

Judge Michael Baker QC told Hall: “You knocked him to the ground and drove off and he was very seriously injured. It was an act of extreme recklessness. There have been serious consequences and a long term effect on his employment.”

With Hall in the car was Ali Abdul-Hussain, 27, who owned the vehicle. He initially gave police a false account about who was driving, but within hours told them the truth.

Abdul-Hussain, of The Ridgeway, St. Albans, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was given a three month prison sentence suspended for 12 months with 100 hours unpaid work and �500 costs.

Judge Baker told him: “Yours was an impulsive act in an attempt to protect a friend. But your realised quickly how very wrong your actions had been.”