Shropshire Star

Injury 'hell' as Shrewsbury teacher's traffic cone jape ends up in court

A man who threw a large traffic cone from a car in Shrewsbury – hitting a woman and breaking her leg in four places – has avoided an immediate jail sentence.

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Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that what started out as a prank led to “two years of hell” for the injured pedestrian Barbara Bates.

On Thursday school teacher Carl Rogers, 31, from Sutton Road, Shrewsbury, was given a 20-month jail sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work over the next 12 months when he appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday. He had admitted causing grievous bodily harm, without intent, to Mrs Bates in September 2020 at an earlier hearing.

Rogers was also ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to Mrs Bates, who broke down when reading her victim impact statement to the court. The car driver, Jack Leask, 21, of Essex Road, Church Stretton, who admitted dangerous driving, was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

The court was told Rogers was being given a lift home by Leask after a night out. When the car stopped at traffic lights Rogers grabbed the traffic cone as a prank. They were travelling down The Mount when he threw the cone, hitting Mrs Bates.

‘The doctors have told me I will never be fully fit again’

Barbara Bates was walking home with her husband thinking about what a lovely day she’d just had – when in an instant her life was turned upside down.

She was hit by a traffic cone thrown from a car, causing such severe leg injuries she has been told she will never regain full fitness.

Mrs Bates, from Shrewsbury, was at the town’s crown court on Thursday to read out her victim impact statement in person.

Dean Easthope, prosecuting, told the court that Rogers was a front seat passenger in the car driven by Leask, with other young men in the rear in Shrewsbury on September 19, 2020.

They had been out together and were behaving raucously, he told the court.

Rogers grabbed the cone when the car stopped at traffic lights to play a prank on the owner of the house they were going to.

But travelling down The Mount he jettisoned it, hitting Mrs Bates.

She spent five days in hospital with a fractured tibia and with her artificial knee displaced.

In her statement she said reality hit when she got home.

Mrs Bates said: “We live in a first-floor flat and with no lift I had to get up the stairs on my bottom.

“I was practically housebound and my husband had to do everything for me.

“I had to have medication to help me sleep and when I did sleep I had nightmares about the cone hitting my leg.

“When my knee was replaced again in May 2021 my bone wasn’t strong enough to hold it and it then had to be replaced with metal.”

She said that before the incident she had recently lost weight and had successfully completed a couch to 5k running programme.

She and her husband used to enjoy walking for miles and now she can barely walk for 20 minutes.

“This might have all happened in a split second but it has been two years of hell and I will probably never be the same again,” she added.

During the hearing Stephen Scully, mitigating for Rogers, said his client was genuinely remorseful.

He would do "anything" to take back his actions that night, Mr Scully said.

Rogers was a respected school teacher – a completely different character to the one that he was on the night in question, he said.

The hearing was told he ran school clubs and volunteered in the community.

“He is the first at the school gates in the morning and last to leave at night,” Mr Scully said.

Robert Edwards, for Leask, said his client had agreed to give Rogers a lift as he had obviously been drinking and thought taking him home was the best thing to do.

“With the hindsight of maturity he should have stopped the car when Rogers picked up the traffic cone,” he said.

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