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Audi driver is jailed for four years after racing at 104mph in 40mph zone

A reckless driver who was going 104mph in a 40mph zone and injured a mother and baby has been slammed in court over her ‘crocodile tears’ as she was jailed.  

Audi driver Leanne Webb, 36, of Wychall Lane, Birmingham, was jailed on Friday at Wolverhampton Crown Court for four years and four months. 

Charlotte Whittle, now 31, suffered brain damage while returning home to Quinton, Birmingham, in her Kia Venga with her 20-month-old daughter, Harper, on May 8, 2019.

Judge Barry Berlin, said he rejected, as the jury did, Webb’s ‘crocodile tears’ as she pretended to show remorse for the victims early on in the case but accepted she felt some remorse now. 

Audi driver Leanne Webb (pictured), 36, of Wychall Lane, Birmingham, was jailed on Friday at Wolverhampton Crown Court for four years and four months

Ms Whittle’s car was struck on Wolverhampton Road, in Oldbury, West Midlands, as she attempted to turn right by a speeding Audi SQ5.

The Audi had been travelling at 104mph in a 40mph zone and the collision left Charlotte with serious brain injuries.

Harper has made a full recovery, but her family say Charlotte will require further specialist treatment for a significant time. 

Charlotte’s father Richard, a grandfather of one and car salesman from Halesowen, West Mids., said: ‘It has destroyed my daughter’s life and to a degree it has destroyed my life as well. I think, on balance, it was a fair sentence.

‘She has destroyed this woman, has destroyed Lotte’s life, and it’s harmed the family greatly.

‘It was just lies after lies from her and the thing that hurt the most was when she said it was Lotte’s own ‘f****** fault’ for pulling out in front of her.’

Charlotte Whittle (pictured), now 31, suffered brain damage while returning home to Quinton, Birmingham, in her Kia Venga with her 20-month-old daughter, Harper, on May 8, 2019

Charlotte Whittle (pictured), now 31, suffered brain damage while returning home to Quinton, Birmingham, in her Kia Venga with her 20-month-old daughter, Harper, on May 8, 2019

Richard said his daughter was returning home after buying her daughter a Matalan swimsuit for a summer holiday at the time.

He added: ‘She is recovering but very slowly. Physically she has recovered 100 per cent but she struggles with speech and communication.

‘You can still have a normal conversation with her but it has changed her tremendously. She is going to need care and assisted living for quite a long time, but she is still a lovely looking girl.

‘She doesn’t look any different to how she did before and is very fit, she just struggles with reading and writing.

‘She had a bleed on the brain so is having speech therapy to help her recover her communication.

‘She did have facial injuries but she has fully recovered apart from the bleed on the brain. Her lovely little girl is 100 per cent recovered.’

Harper (pictured) has made a full recovery, but her family say Charlotte will require further specialist treatment for a significant time

Harper (pictured) has made a full recovery, but her family say Charlotte will require further specialist treatment for a significant time

Webb initially denied being at fault and even blamed Charlotte for turning across her path.

Through the trial she admitted dangerous driving but claimed she’d been under duress.

The court heard Webb had been hitting speeds of around 104mph on Wolverhampton Road, a 40mph zone, and ‘accelerated’ toward the road’s junction with the Queensway.

The judge heard that Miss Whittle, who was driving the Kia, was travelling in the opposite direction at a ‘reasonable speed’ on approach to the right turn to the Queensway.

Ian Windridge, prosecuting, said Webb’s Audi collided with the front near-side of the Kia at 1.48pm which propelled both vehicles 60 metres down the north-western carriageway.

A jury convicted her of two counts of causing injury by dangerous driving to Lotte and baby Harper in a two-day trial in May this year.

Webb initially denied being at fault and even blamed Charlotte (pictured) for turning across her path

Webb initially denied being at fault and even blamed Charlotte (pictured) for turning across her path

Desmond Lennon, defending Webb, said the speeding was of an ‘exceptional nature’ and was not something ‘she had done regularly’. 

Judge Barry Berlin, said he rejected, as the jury did, her ‘crocodile tears’ as she pretended to show remorse for the victims early on in the case but accepted she felt some remorse now.

Speaking after the sentencing, Richard added: ‘The main problem for us was that the woman put us through the trial because she didn’t admit she was driving too fast.

‘She came up with what the judge called a fictitious concoction when she was actually driving so fast.

‘It was so fast it was unbelievable.

‘She was going 104mph and my daughter was stationary.

‘That woman put us through this terrible ordeal because she wouldn’t admit is.

‘It is over now and we think we have justice.

‘All we can do is help my daughter repair and get back to how she was before.’

Lotte she was in a coma for over a month, was in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for seven months and then went to Moseley Hall Hospital for further treatment.

She was transferred into a care home for rehabilitation and is now being looked after at another hospital.

Her dad added: ‘It was heartbreaking – I never thought this could happen, I always thought these sorts of things happen to other people.

‘Lotte was in a coma and the doctors wouldn’t be drawn on whether she would survive or not, we were told all we could is wait.

‘It seems Lotte has been punished by losing two years of her life and we hope with rehabilitation she will get some more speech back and have some sort of decent quality of life – she struggles to communicate and she’s unable to care for her daughter which is very hard.’

Webb was also disqualified from driving for six years and 10 months and she must pay a victim surcharge and take an extended driving test in future. 


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