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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Man jailed over 1997 hit-and-run
A hit-and-run driver who evaded police for eight years has been jailed for what a judge called "the worst case of dangerous driving" he had dealt with.

Robert Heard, 41, of Holderness Way, Norwood, south London, admitted running over Rachel Head in Brighton in 1997.

He was traced and charged, but a warrant then had to be issued for his arrest when he failed to appear for a court hearing in January 1998.

Heard was finally jailed for two years by Hove Crown Court on Friday.

He had admitted dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail for the dangerous driving charge, plus six months to run consecutively for failing to surrender to his bail in 1998.

10 days' unconscious

Heard was also disqualified from driving for seven years.

Miss Head, now 32 and living in Rushden, Northamptonshire, was hit by Heard's Ford Transit van in Madeira Drive, Brighton, in June 1997.

She and a group of other people had been trying to block his vehicle's way after he collided with parked cars.

But he drove towards them and ran over Miss Head's right foot, leg and shoulder.

She suffered a fractured pelvis, broken toes and a lacerated liver and was unconscious for 10 days.

Heard was found to be almost four times the drink-drive limit when he was arrested.

Bridget Norfolk, prosecuting, said that after he absconded, one police officer said he "seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth".

It was only on 1 September this year that he was traced to West Norwood.

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