Sussex

Judge hits out in Brighton hit-and-run sentencing row

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Media captionMichelle Greest had to have blood clots removed from her brain after being hit by a stolen car on Brighton seafront

A judge has condemned "the embarrassing inadequacy" of his sentencing powers after jailing a driver who left a woman for dead in Brighton.

Michelle Greest had to have blood clots removed from her brain after being hit by a stolen car on Brighton seafront.

Christopher Chan, of no fixed abode, admitted a total of 14 charges and was jailed for a total of 68 months.

But judge David Rennie complained at Lewes Crown Court that he was limited by sentencing guidelines.

Handing out a 16-month sentence for aggravated vehicle-taking, the judge said his hands were tied by the embarrassing inadequacy of guidelines relating to a guilty plea, and he urged parliament to look at them again.

Night out

Image caption Chan admitted a total of 13 charges

Brighton Crown Court heard on Friday that Chan, 31, hit Ms Greest in a stolen car used to carry out a ram-raid on a Brighton shop in July.

Ms Greest, 28, from Hove, was struck by the stolen VW Passat Estate as she crossed Kings Road on 15 July after a night out with friends in Brighton.

As well as the two blood clots, she suffered leg, hip and back fractures, but survived her ordeal.

She was not in court to see the hit-and-run driver jailed, but she told BBC News: "Hopefully, [the sentencing guidelines] will change and people in this situation will get longer because they deserve to get longer."

Unemployed Chan had used the car in a ram-raid on a flooring shop in Trafalgar Road, Portslade, 15 minutes earlier, Sussex Police said.

He admitted offences, including failing to stop at the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident, driving without insurance, driving while disqualified, aggravated vehicle-taking, and burglary.

He was disqualified from driving for 10 years.

He has since written a letter of apology to his victim, but Ms Greest said: "This letter doesn't mean much to me."

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