Suspended jail sentence for teenager who knocked down boyfriend's ex

A teenage mother has avoided a prison sentence after knocking down her boyfriend's former partner in a hit-and-run crash.

Model and dancer Faye Townsend was put in an induced coma after she suffered serious head injuries in the incident in the village of West Wellow, Hampshire, on December 1 2015.

Chantelle Matthews, 19, of West Wellow, pleaded guilty at at Southampton Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent and was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

Andrew Houston, prosecuting, told the court Miss Townsend had dated Mark Hilden before he began seeing the defendant.

He told the court: "At first the defendant seemed to enjoy rubbing Faye's nose in the fact she was dating Mr Hilden."

Mr Houston said that three days before the incident, the defendant confronted Miss Townsend in a petrol station in Ower and shouted at her: "He's my f****** husband now, stay away from him."

She then took off her belt and wrapped it round her hand as she left, Mr Houston said.

He said Miss Townsend, who remained calm, responded by saying that Matthews was embarrassing herself and added: "I am moving on with my life, you have got Mark, it's over, it was over 12 months ago."

Mr Houston said Miss Townsend was walking along Tutts Lane with a friend when she saw the defendant swerve her Nissan Micra towards her, before Mr Hilden, in the passenger seat, grabbed the steering wheel to avoid a collision.

He said the defendant then dropped Mr Hilden off and drove back and hit Miss Townsend from behind, flipping her up into the air and down on to the windscreen.

Matthews drove off and abandoned the car but handed herself in to police a day later, Mr Houston said.

In a victim impact statement, Miss Townsend said her injuries had "ruined her life", she had lost her confidence, felt unable to socialise and the injuries had led to her losing her sense of balance and her ability to taste and smell properly.

As well as the suspended prison term, Judge Gary Burrell QC sentenced Matthews to a six-month curfew, a supervision and rehabilitation order, and confiscated her car and banned her from driving for two years.

He also imposed a restraining order stopping her from contacting Miss Townsend or from being in the same shop as her.

Judge Burrell told the defendant she was lucky not to have been charged with attempted murder, and added: "Your actions on that day have left her in a dreadful state with significant neurological problems, they are very significant.

"This girl, who was perfectly healthy before, has now been left with all sorts of difficulties requiring rehabilitation and ongoing medical care."

He said he had suspended the prison sentence because of the defendant's significant learning difficulties, her remorse and the fact that she had a five-month-old baby girl.

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