A WINSFORD man who ploughed his high-powered BMW into a family car on Boxing Day told police he ‘couldn’t find the brake pedal’.

Christopher Bailey, of Hamletts Close, didn't have a valid driving licence when he smashed into the Fiat 500 at a roundabout in Wharton Park Road, Winsford, on December 26, 2023.

The 55-year-old had surrendered it voluntarily for six months after having a seizure on a family holiday to Spain in August 2023.

The Fiat was carrying three people – a male driver, a female passenger in the front, and a small child in a car seat in the back.

The driver and the child were both knocked unconscious in the crash, and the female passenger suffered a broken or dislocated hip.

A witness told police judging by the sound of Bailey's engine, he was driving fast.

He bought the 2020 plate BMW M4 after his seizure in August 2023, but hadn’t driven it due to his medical suspension.

He said the BMW’s automatic gears confused him as he was used to driving a manual.

Bailey admitted causing serious injury by careless driving, driving a vehicle other than in accordance with a licence, and driving with no insurance, at Chester Magistrates' Court on December 29, 2023.

At his sentence hearing at Chester on Monday, January 29, defending solicitor Wendy Shurrock said Bailey bought the BMW ‘in anticipation of getting his licence back’ when the DVLA cleared him to drive after an epilepsy diagnosis. 

She said he’d only ever had one seizure, and he’d driven the car because he needed to go somewhere, and everyone else in the house had been drinking, as it was Boxing Day.

She added: “This man is in his mid-50s and has worked all his life. He has no convictions, and he did the right thing by voluntarily giving up his licence when he did. 

"He rightly regards his behaviour that day as reckless."

She added Bailey’s life ‘spiralled downhill’ after losing his mum in 2022, and he's now the sole carer for his 81-year-old father.

He’s now on Universal Credit due to a long-term physical illness, she added, and a recent traumatic event involving a close family member has added to 'layer upon layer of stress’ which contributed to his poor decision making on December 26.

“He tells me not a day goes by when he doesn’t regret what he has done,” Miss Shurrock added.

Before passing sentence, District Judge Jack McGarva asked Bailey how he could afford such an expensive car while on Universal Credit, who replied he’d bought it after cashing in a pension early.

Judge McGarva said: “It was an incredibly stupid act to go out and drive that car on that day.

“It’s a very, very powerful car, and your driving was poor. You were insufficiently familiar with the controls.

“You entered a roundabout when it was not safe, and the noise reported suggests you were driving fast.  

“As the people you injured have chosen not to engage with the court process, we don’t know the full extent of their injuries.

“Because of that, you’ll be receiving the benefit of the doubt.”

For causing serious injury due to careless driving, the judge handed Bailey a 12-month community order, including a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement, and a £440 fine.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months, ordered to pay £120 court costs, and a £114 victim surcharge, payable within 28 days.

The judge gave no separate penalty for the licence and insurance offences.