A Porsche driver has been jailed after a high-speed crash in Rudgwick which left a woman with life-changing injuries.
The crash happened on the A281 Guildford Road in August last year when the driver lost control of the sports car and crashed into the tree so fiercely that the Porsche’s entire engine was ejected.
Police say that the front seat passenger, a 30-year-old woman, suffered serious brain injuries and was airlifted to hospital in London where she was kept in an induced coma for more than a week.
Now the driver - Martin Skinner, 40, a property developer, of Kinnerton Street in London’s Belgravia - has been jailed for 22 months, banned from driving until May 2022, and ordered to pay fines and costs amounting to £1,815.
Skinner failed a roadside drug test for cocaine before he was taken to hospital with serious injuries, where he refused to provide a further sample.
Police say that on the morning of the crash, Skinner had tried to arrange a supercar road trip to France but instead decided to ‘go rallying’ to a business acquaintance’s house in Rudgwick.
Later that evening he persuaded his passenger to go with him in his Porsche to direct him to a local shop when the crash happened.
Skinner was later charged with careless driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
At Worthing Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded not guilty to both offences, claiming that the crash was caused by a defective road surface, and that he failed to provide a specimen because he was not fit enough to give his consent at the time. The case was re-opened for trial at the same court on August 21.
Skinner initially failed to appear and the case began in his absence. His passenger, still recovering from her injuries, gave evidence that Skinner had been driving so fast that everything had been a blur, and that she had asked him to slow down.
Skinner then arrived at court two hours late in a McLaren sports car, saying his alarm clock had not woken him in time. He was charged with a separate offence of failing to surrender to bail and later changed his plea to guilty to all charges.
The trial judge said that Skinner’s driving had only just fallen short of dangerous driving, on roads he did not know well, in the wet, whilst showing off to his passenger, knowing that he had at some time taken cocaine.
In addition to causing the crash and the significant injuries to the woman, he had then caused her additional trauma by prolonging the court proceedings and caused her to have to attend court to give evidence.