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Farmer jailed after leaving 27-year-old with 'catastrophic' injuries

A farmer has been jailed for causing a collision which left a young man with horrific injuries - like someone who had been in a bomb blast.

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Clive Pearce, 50, was driving a 10-tonne Caterpillar Telehandler which ran over 27-year-old Liam Earle one Sunday in January.


Liam and a woman had been drinking in a pub and were sitting in the bucket when the incident happened.


Liam is still in hospital ten months on after being left with catastrophic neck, back and pelvic injuries.


Pearce, from Martock, Somerset, accepted dismantling the vehicle’s braking system leaving only a cable operated handbrake to stop it.


He allowed Liam and a 24-year-old woman to sit in the bucket and used it wrongly to take down signage from height.


He drove it in a dangerous condition and without insurance.


At Taunton Crown Court Pearce admitted dangerous driving causing serious injury and having no insurance.


He was jailed for ten months, banned from driving for two years and must take an extended re-test.


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PC Daniel Cox said: "Pearce took an unsafe vehicle out onto the road for which it was not intended, working at height, as a favour to a friend.


"He allowed two people who had been drinking in the pub to ride in the bucket. He and Liam will now have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives."


Liam’s mother Nicki Schantz said: "Liam was run over by an 11 tonne caterpillar telehandler that had brakes taken off by the farmer the week before.


"Liam has suffered unbelievable injuries and the last ten months have been the hardest ten months of our lives.


"His pelvic surgeon, who didn’t think he would survive, described these injuries as a body amputation and his spinal consultant said that in his 20 years experience, he had never seen injuries as serious or complex as Liam’s.


"The investigating officer likened his injuries to a soldier who had been blown up by an IED.


"People may say ’it’s his fault’ and yes he did have a few pints and yes he did get into the bucket but it’s not as straight forward as that.


"You live and grow up in a rural community and you see these things going on around you, riding on the back of tractors and in buckets.


"I am still angry at the whole situation. The tragedy is that both Liam and the farmer will both pay for it for the rest of their lives."

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