Mother still 'grieving' for son who suffered life-changing brain injuries in crash

A man was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge after a crash on the A134 near Whittington. P

Tom Hadley suffered life-changing brain injuries after a crash on the A134 at Whittington, near Thetford. - Credit: Archant

A man who was training to be a farrier is receiving treatment for life-changing brain injuries after a van driver ploughed into the back of his car.

Tom Hadley's Mercedes was shunted into oncoming traffic by the impact, and collided with another car on the A134 at Whittington, near Thetford.

Norwich Crown Court heard as a result of the crash, which happened at about 6am on June 8 last year, Mr Hadley, 22, who was training to be a farrier, suffered “extensive life-changing brain injuries”.

Mr Hadley, who was due to complete his training as a farrier next year, spent two months in an induced coma after his brain suffered “stroke-type changes”.

He is likely to suffer ongoing neurological dysfunction for years to come and has spent time rehabilitating in Cambridge but is currently at a rehabilitation centre in Ipswich.

Mr Hadley’s mother, Kathryn Sheppard, provided a victim impact statement which described how she was “grateful he survived” but was “still grieving” due to the serious injuries he suffered.

She said Mr Hadley’s nine-year-old brother told people he "hasn’t got a brother”.

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She suffers panic attacks and anxiety, particularly when she drives, and said her life “will never be the same again”.

His partner Laura McCarry also provided a statement stating they were “inseparable” but that their lives had been devastated.

She said being separated from Mr Hadley was unbearable and described having to sleep on a sofa as she cannot bear her partner not being in bed with her.

She added: “It’s heart-breaking to see the person you love go through something like this.”

Mateusz Przybylo, 30, had been driving a Renault box van when he failed to see Mr Hadley's car ahead of him, which was stopped and waiting to turn right.

The impact of Przybylo's van "set off a chain of events" and forced the Mercedes into oncoming traffic and resulted in a crash with a third vehicle in the opposite lane.

Quentin Lane, the driver of the vehicle struck by Mr Hadley’s car, also suffered serious injuries, including fractures to bones in his left hand.

Przybylo also crashed into another vehicle resulting in injuries to the driver in that vehicle.

Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, said the defendant’s van, which was limited to 50mph, had been traveling at 65mph at the time of the crash.

He said: “For whatever reason, whilst clearly visible ahead, the defendant continued driving at 65mph right up until he directly impacts the rear of Mr Hadley’s vehicle.”

Mr O’Donnell said it was “quite clear he made no attempt to brake” and it "could only be speculated as to why he did not see the vehicle ahead".

Przybylo, of Sherwood Avenue, Wisbech, appeared in court on Wednesday (May 5) having admitted two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Jailing Przybylo for 20 months, Judge Andrew Shaw said he would be failing in his public duty were he not to impose immediate custody.

He said: “There’s no sentence I can pass that can make Tom better, there’s no sentence I can pass that can return Tom to his mother and partner to June 8 last year before this collision occurred when he was so significantly injured.”

Judge Shaw said the defendant’s driving created a “substantial risk of danger” which has “utterly devastated” the lives of Mr Hadley’s family and of many others.

Simon Gladwell, mitigating, said it was a tragic case and told how the defendant, who has no previous convictions, made full admissions and has expressed genuine remorse “for what he did and what he was responsible for”.

The defendant was also banned from driving for three years and 10 months.