A motorcyclist who ploughed into a 12-year-old girl and fractured her skull before riding off has been jailed.
The girl’s family today said their lives have been “changed forever” following the incident, on Boroughbridge Road.
She was left fighting for her life in intensive care following the incident in June last year, which left her with life-changing injuries.
She needed extensive medical treatment and has still not been able to return to school after months of rehabilitation.
The investigation also included a public appeal for information that dozens of people responded to. The information they shared helped officers piece together exactly what happened and establish Lofthouse’s involvement.
When 30-year-old Lofthouse was arrested, he tried to claim that his motorbike had been stolen. He later changed his story and said he didn’t know he’d hit a pedestrian and, although he saw the appeal for information, he had not come forward because he was uninsured.
However, a long and protracted investigation involving North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team and officers from across proactive policing proved that he knew he had crashed into the girl and tried to cover his tracks by hiding his bike and clothing.
At Leeds Crown Court in May this year, he pleaded guilty to failing to stop after a collision, perverting the course of justice, having no licence and no insurance and possession of class B drugs, namely cannabis, with intent to supply.
After appearing for sentence at York Crown Court today, a judge sent Lofthouse to prison for two years, ten months. He was also given a 36-month driving ban and the drugs and motorbike have been seized.
Speaking after the sentencing, Inspector Jeremy Bartley of the Major Collision Investigation Team said: “This is one of the most serious criminal collisions we have investigated recently, and one of the most complicated to investigate.
“Rather than acting like a grown man, Lofthouse did the most cowardly thing possible – he left a young girl laying on the road with a fractured skull, made his getaway and tried to hide the evidence that he knew would incriminate him.
“Fortunately, many people out there did the right thing and responded to our appeal, sharing information with us. They were appalled to read about what happened and I’d like to thank everyone who got in touch. This information was fed directly into our investigation and it helped us massively.
“This has been a harrowing and drawn-out ordeal for the girl who Lofthouse injured – who has done exceptionally well in her recovery – and her family. But I hope today’s outcome gives them some comfort as they move on with their lives.”
In a family statement, the victim’s mother said: “I would like to thank everyone who helped police in their investigation to catch Lofthouse, the people who were there with my daughter at the time of the collision, the four paramedics who attended the scene and family and friends for their continued support. Our lives have changed forever.”