Teenage driver fined £250 for Terrington St Clement house crash

Scene of RTC last night where a car collided with a house on Churchgateway in Terrington St Clement, West Norfolk. �Paul Tibbs ANL-150218-160513009
Scene of RTC last night where a car collided with a house on Churchgateway in Terrington St Clement, West Norfolk. �Paul Tibbs ANL-150218-160513009
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A teenage driver whose van crashed into the front of a house in Terrington St Clement has kept his licence.

Royce Cooper, 18, of Sutton Road, Terrington St Clement, had been warned about his driving just hours before his Citroen Berlingo van hit the house in Churchgate Way on February 17.

Homeowners Peter and Heather Strudwick, along with children James, 18, and Thomas six, have been forced to move into rented accommodation in South Wootton following the incident.

Apprentice engineer Cooper admitted a charge of driving without due care and attention before Lynn magistrates earlier today (Thursday, June 4) and was given five penalty points and fined £250.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, told the bench that Cooper had been pulled over and given advice by police at about 7pm on February 17 for the “aggressive” manner of driving after his van was seen to be close to another car in front.

At 9.50pm the same officer was called to Churchgate Way after the crash.

Mr Beaumont read a statement from Mrs Strudwick who had been sitting in the front room and facing the window when she heard a loud noise.

He said: “The front of the house collapsed towards me. It was followed by headlights sheering through our home. I can only describe what I saw as a tsunami wave of bricks.”

The court heard that Cooper climbed through the rubble to pull Mrs Strudwick out.

Mr Beaumont said: “Mr Cooper, when spoken to by police in due course, accepted that he had been driving and accepted that he had been speeding. He accepted he had lost control due to the slippery road conditions.”

In her statement Mrs Strudwick said the event had “destroyed” much of her family’s life and that it was emotionally painful.

Mr Beaumont also said that family no longer wish to live in the house or village.

Mitigating Hugh Cauthery said Cooper, who had passed his driving test in September last year, told police that he was travelling at 36mph in a 30mph zone.

He said “He was unaware until he got out of the vehicle that a certain amount of frost had made the road slippery. He is a young driver. Young drivers do not have the experience of older drivers.”

Mr Cauthery said he was taking a right hand bend when the vehicle slipped and he over corrected.

The court heard that Cooper was horrified at what had happened to the house and was acutely aware of how “unpleasant” the incident had been for the family.

Mr Cauthery said: “He seems to exhibit an unusually sensitive character for a young man of his age. He is full of remorse.”

The bench were presented with letters of Cooper’s good character by two employers and his 97-year-old great-grandmother, who would be struggling without his help.

In sentencing Cooper, chairman of the bench David Foreman said: You had a warning on that night.

“The consequences could have been a lot worse. A child could have been on the other side of that wall.

“We see so many young people who think they are invincible.”

Cooper was given five penalty points which will stay on his licence for two years. Another penalty point and he could be disqualified.

He was also fined £250 and ordered to pay £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs.