The mother of a young man whose life has been ‘ruined’ by a brain injury suffered in a horror crash told the speeding driver who caused it ‘I forgive you’ in court.
Maison Green, 26, was on his way back from the gym when Gary Tomlinson, 51, who had been drinking, undertook and ploughed into him at more than twice the speed limit.
Tomlinson then ‘left him for dead’ and fled the scene in Collyhurst, north Manchester, going to a party where he carried on drinking before eventually being arrested in the early hours.
Previously independent and hard-working Maison, who was not expected to survive the smash, suffered ‘permanent and irreversible’ damage and now requires round-the-clock care in what a judge described as a ‘living nightmare’ for him and his family.
However, in a deeply moving scene at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Green’s mother told Tomlinson that she did not believe he had set out to hurt her son.
During her victim impact statement from the witness box in court, Madeline Brodie, turned to him and said: “I just want to tell you, that we forgive you.”
Tomlinson sobbed in the dock and shouted “I’m so sorry” as Miss Brodie continued: “I believe you didn’t set out that day to intentionally hurt our boy.
“I just want you to learn from your actions. It’s ruined our lives and Maison’s so please don’t make the same mistake again.
“The only thing that we’re struggling to forgive you for is leaving him. Just please learn from this.”
The judge said it was the most ‘dignified and magnanimous’ statement he had ever heard in a courtroom.
Tomlinson was driving at double 30mph speed limit
The crash happened at around 8pm on the evening of Thursday, October 22, 2020.
Maison was driving his BMW along Rochdale Road in the right hand of two lanes.
As he approached the junction with Eggington Street, he indicated and began turning left.
However, Tomlinson, who had spent two hours in the pub with a pal beforehand, was driving behind him and decided to undertake him in the left-hand lane, which is a bus lane.
The smash was captured on several nearby CCTV cameras, the footage from which was played in court, and specialist investigators calculated prior to the collision Tomlinson was driving at around 69mph.
And, at the point of impact, he was traveling at between 55pm and 69mph, Andrew MacKintosh, prosecuting, said. The limit for the road is 30mph.
Afterwards, Tomlinson got out of his car and ran away.
His passenger went to a friend’s house, and Tomlinson later joined them and began drinking again.
When he was asked about the crash he said ‘Yeah, sorted. Sweet’, and indicated he might have to make a statement at a later date, Mr MacKintosh said.
However, at around 3am police officers who had traced them arrived and arrested both men.
Tomlinson’s friend said he would have to tell the police the truth and it was at this point Tomlinson admitted he was driving.
In his police interview, his pal said he and Tomlinson had been drinking in a pub in the city center for around two hours, that he had drunk five Jack Daniels and Cokes and he thought Tomlinson had drunk the same.
He said when he told him he was going to drive home he warned him ‘are you sure that’s a good idea?’
However, he said he didn’t think Tomlinson was drunk, ‘just a little wavey.’
Doctors didn’t expect Maison to survive
Following the crash, Mr Green was rushed to hospital by paramedics with a severe head injury.
At the scene, his score on the Glasgow Coma Scale was 3, the lowest it can be, and doctors did not expect him to survive, the court was told.
“Can you imagine having to make that decision as a parent?” Mr Green’s mother asked Tomlinson during her emotional statement.
I have spent five months being treated in hospital before being discharged home in April last year. However, he continues to need 24-hour care and support and cannot be left unattended.
He had ‘made some improvement’ in the subsequent months but ‘he’s never likely to recover the level of function he had before’ Mr MacKintosh said adding it had had ‘catastrophic effects on his personality.’
In a statement of his own read by his barrister, Mr Green said he hated being unable to work, and earn his own money. ‘I don’t want to be dependent on anyone,’ he said.
Adding: “I cannot forgive him as he left me to die.”
Tomlinson, of Mossack Avenue, Wythenshawe, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.
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He has previous convictions for drink driving in 2017 and for vehicle taking and drink driving in 1992, the court heard.
Ronan Maguire, defending, said: “I hope he has shown genuine remorse for the consequences of his actions, both before this hearing and during it.
“There is no question the evidence of the victim’s mother had a profound effect on him and I must say he’s fortunate to be able to experience that.”
He added he had been caring for his elderly parents, with whom he had lived for many years, but that “he will always be left with the knowledge that he has denied his parents the care he has given them for reasons he simply can’t justify.”
Crash has left family in ‘living nightmare’, judge says
Recorder Richard Wright jailed Tomlinson for a total of three years.
He also banned him from driving for five years following his release.
“You had seen him and took a deliberate decision to undertake him.
“You were traveling far in excess of the speed limit. That grossly excessive speed and the dangerous manoeuvre meant the impact between your vehicles was significant.
“It would have been obvious to anyone there was at least a chance that one or both of the occupants of the other vehicle would have seriously injured.
“But your reaction, no doubt influenced by the fact you were drunk, or at least significantly intoxicated by alcohol, was to run away and leave them to their fate.
“You went to a party, showed minimal concern and you didn’t surrender yourself to the police, they had to come to you.”
Recorder Wright said the ‘permanent and irreversible’ injuries had ‘devastated the lives of Mr Green and his family.’
“This was previously independent, hard-working man who cannot now be left alone as an adult due to your selfish and dangerous actions,” he said.
“It has left him and his family in a living nightmare from which there is little hope of waking.
“The harm you caused could not have been higher in a case of this type.”
Following the hearing, Police Constable Phil Collingwood of GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Tomlinson’s driving was completely reckless and showed absolute disregard for the lives of those traveling along that road at the time.
“Not only did Tomlinson’s deplorable actions leave a man suffering from a major head trauma but he then cowardly fled the scene. It’s a miracle that nobody else was seriously injured or died as a result of the collision and I extend my thanks to all the other drivers who stopped to call emergency services and remained at the scene.
“Thankfully we’ve been able to secure a custodial sentence today and I hope this provides a small sense of justice to the families of those who have been impacted by the horrendous incident.
“I hope it also serves as a warning to those who feel they can recklessly drive along our roads. One stupid decision can change or cost a life, and as seen today, we will ensure you face the actions of your consequences.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.