Biker jailed after teen left with devastating brain injuries

The mum of a young boy left severely brain damaged after being struck by a speeding motorcyclist has spoken of her relief after the dangerous rider was jailed.

Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 10:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017, 11:01 am

Joe Boyer, 14, of Derwent View, Mastin Moor, was crossing the A619 at Stavely with friends on Saturday, April 23 last year when motorcyclist Michael Sawyer overtook a line of stationary vehicles and ploughed into him.

The youngster was dragged along the road by the Kawasaki before being thrown into a wall, leaving him with a severe brain injury, fractures to his spine, hip, pelvis, leg and ribs as well as lacerations across his body, damage to his liver, spleen and one kidney and bruising to his lungs.

Sawyer, 41, from Upper New Walk, Leicester, pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced to three years in prison and handed a five-and-a-half-year driving ban.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Joe’s mother, Marie, 41, said: “I am relieved that the motorcyclist has been punished for his recklessness. But while he has only received three years in prison, Joe has received a life sentence.

“Joe’s injuries have had a devastating impact on both him and our whole family. Seeing Joe injured in hospital and knowing that he will now not live the life he otherwise would have is heart-breaking.

Marie added: “Our focus is on ensuring Joe has all the help and support he needs to make as good a recovery as is possible and, as he grows up, lives as independently as his injuries allow.

“Through one person’s recklessness we almost lost our son, but thanks to air ambulance staff and the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the excellent care they provided, we did not and for that we will be forever grateful.”

The court heard that Sawyer was overtaking a line of stationary vehicles on the A619 at speed when he struck Joe.

Joe was airlifted from the scene of the crash before being taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where he remained in a coma for three weeks. He had to learn to walk and talk again as well as re-learn other simple tasks many take for granted. He also needed multiple skin grafts where the road’s surface had burned and torn his skin.

Before the accident Joe enjoyed playing football, rugby and computer games. He would help his parents around the house and would run errands for the family. He was very independent and dreamed of one day becoming a baker – a love fuelled by watching the Great British Bake-Off.

Joe returned home on Friday, May 27 but was unable to use the stairs so his parents had to create a bedroom downstairs for him.

Joe Boyer, 14, pictured in hospital after being hit by a motorbike.

While the secondary school pupil has been able to return to his studies he can manage just four lessons per week and still struggles with memory loss, concentration and controlling his mood. He cannot be left unsupervised.

His legal team at Irwin Mitchell are working to secure him a settlement from Sawyer’s insurers to help fund his ongoing care as well as pay for any disability aids, therapies or additional support he may need as he grows up.

Caroline Mitchell, an expert brain injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Joe, said: “While Sawyer’s prison sentence does provide a degree of closure to Joe and his family, Joe will have to live with his injuries for the rest of his life.

“We are now working hard to ensure Joe is provided with all the support and rehabilitation he requires so that he can make the best possible recovery from his injuries and live as full a life as possible.

“We hope that today’s sentence and Joe’s story can remind drivers of the life shattering consequences that dangerous or reckless behaviour on the roads can have on themselves and victims like young Joe.”

Sawyer pleaded guilty on January 3 and was sentenced at Derby Crown Court on January 6.

Joe Boyer, 14, pictured in hospital after being hit by a motorbike.