A TEENAGER speeding on a stolen motorbike was left with serious injuries and in a coma for three weeks after smashing into a car.

Jamie Ashcroft, now aged 20, stood in the dock at Bolton Crown Court to be sentenced for a string of motoring offences, but his barrister, Neil Ronan, stressed that he still has neurological problems from a traumatic brain injury suffered in the collision on November 15 last year.

"The person before you today, by dint of these injuries, is not the person who caused the criminal behaviour," he said.

Michael Lavery, prosecuting, told the court how Ashcroft, who had no licence or insurance, was riding a Kawasaki motorbike which had been stolen 10 days earlier.

"He was driving dangerously, so much so, that when he stopped the vehicle, the back wheel rose from the floor," said Mr Lavery, who added that witnesses estimate he was riding at 60mph in a 30mph zone before smashing into an Audi A3 as it turned right on Wigan Road, Leigh at 12.50pm.

"Witnesses to the accident as he went over the top of the car describe his driving as reckless and at very high speed," said Mr Lavery.

Ashcroft was rushed to hospital with serious head injures, fractured spine and pelvis, an ankle injury and lacerated spleen.

"He was quite lucky to be alive," said Mr Ronan.

Ashcroft, of Keble Grove, Leigh, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, riding a vehicle taken without consent and having no licence or insurance.

Mr Ronan told the court how the injuries were so severe that Ashcroft was in a coma and now suffers from memory problems, hampered by rehabilitation appointments being cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"He struggles daily to live a normal life," said Mr Ronan.

Recorder Michael Hayton QC sentenced Ashcroft , who has no previous convictions, to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered him to participate in 30 days of rehabilitation activities. He was also banned from applying for a driving licence for two years.

Recorder Hayton told Ashcroft: "You could have caused very serious injuries to other people.

"You have been very seriously injured by you own stupid criminal behaviour.

"If you had not received the injuries that you have I would have sent you to prison."