A MOTORIST who drove dangerously inflicted a “life sentence” on a pedestrian who he hit and seriously injured.

Charles Eyles was just 17 and a newly qualified driver when he made the terrible decision with devastating consequences.

Bolton Crown Court heard he was with friends in a Ford Fiesta when he was driving down Leigh Road in Westhoughton.

He was driving towards Daisy Hill station but failed to stop at a red light.

Eyles’ vehicle hit Paul Smith, who had come onto the crossing from the near side and was two thirds of the way across.

The teenager remained at the scene but told police he had continued through the red light because he feared the car behind his would crash if he applied the brake.

Earlier this week though, Eyles pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving during the incident in September 2018.

Jane Dagnall, prosecuting, read from a victim personal statement compiled by Mr Smith, a former employee of Northern Rail.

She said: “It says ‘I have absolutely no recollection of the collision and that is probably a blessing'.

“It will affect him for the rest of his life.

“He worked at Northern Rail and had since he was 16 and he was proud to get that job and worked hard.”

She added he had accepted he would not return to work and was no longer able to enjoy going to football matches having previously been a regular at away games supporting his team.

The statement added: “I never thought I would come to close to losing my life at the age of 42. No punishment can ever repair the life sentence I have been dealt.”

Mr Smith also said he had lost his independence and was now supported by his family and “having been proud and independent that was difficult.”

Wayne Jackson, defending, said the evidence did not support what Eyles, now 21, had told the police about the car behind.

He added: “He is mature enough to know that today this case is not all about him, it is also about Mr Smith who has had his life changed in the last three-and-a-half years.

“He has displayed upset by what has happened. He has not driven since.”

He added that data from the Fiesta's black box showed Eyles, from Lovers Lane, Atherton, had not been speeding at the time.

Passing sentence, Judge Timothy Clayson said: “No doubt Mr Smith will be suffering for the rest of his life with these injuries.

“Apart from this you are someone who is of previously good character, with no previous conviction at all.

“It is notable at the time you had something of a lack of driving experience.”

He imposed an eight-month suspended prison sentence, banned Eyles from the roads for two years and ordered him to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.