Man is sentenced after stealing a car, fleeing from officers and running pedestrian over
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A man who was on the run for nearly six months has been sentenced after stealing a car, fleeing from officers and running a pedestrian over.
Anthony "AJ" Maher, aged 19 and of Whaddon Road in Cheltenham, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court today (Thursday 16 June) after pleading guilty at his first court appearance last month.
He was sentenced to two years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving plus aggravated vehicle taking (initial taker) and dangerous driving.
Maher will serve one year in custody before being released on license for the second year. Upon release from prison he will be disqualified from driving for three years.
On Friday 22 January 2021 Maher stole a unique Black Mitsubishi Evo which was parked in a communal car park on Shakespeare Road.
The car had a tracker fitted which was then used to follow the vehicle. The tracker allowed officers to monitor Maher as he drove around Cheltenham and then to Bishops Cleeve.
Officers from the Roads Policing Unit caught up with him in Bishops Cleeve when he failed to stop.
They requested support from the National Police Air Service and Maher was followed to Millham Lane before a stinger was deployed.
It was at this point when Maher mounted and drove along a footpath within a housing estate in a bid to evade officers, he narrowly missed one pedestrian before colliding with a second.
Maher and one other person fled from the car and did not attempt to check on the injured pedestrian who was trapped under the car.
He was traced to a nearby address and arrested on suspicion of failing to stop and dangerous driving. The passenger who ran was tracked by NPAS, directing officers who arrested them.
Three men were arrested within the house and fourth on the street after being followed by a police helicopter.
All four were interviewed and released under investigation whilst officers conducted further enquiries, which included digital technologies and forensic analysis. A number of mobile phones were seized from the group and one showed a video of Maher driving the stolen car.
The man who was run over by Maher was left bed bound for four months after sustaining serious leg and foot injuries. This has affected him both physically and mentally.
He does not wish to be identified but provided a victim impact statement which detailed how the injury to his ankle was very painful but did not compare to the serious injury caused to his left knee and leg.
He added that his tibia plateau and knee cap were shattered and his consultant advised it was as bad an injury as you would wish for in that area. The very top of his tibia was fractured and his knee cap was destroyed and compressed in.
His leg and knee are now held together by metal work and he will need a knee replacement in the future as a direct consequence of the collision.
In a statement he said: "This experience was very traumatic and left me unable to walk for three months. I had surgery and a bone graft to rebuild my shattered left tibia, a fracture to my right ankle and lacerations.
"I had a few months of flashbacks and difficulty sleeping. I was stuck in Gloucester Royal Hospital for 10 days waiting for surgery during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, not allowed visitors.
"I now have long term pain in my knee and ankle and have difficulty with various things like walking down stairs, getting dressed and kneeling down.
"I have tried to remain positive and focus on recovery. I hope the young man that caused my injuries can get the right help and guidance to be rehabilitated and have a better future."
Maher had been wanted since January of this year (2022) and part of the enquiries to locate him included a feature on BBC One's Crimewatch Live as part of a wanted faces segment.
He was located by officers on Wednesday 18 May after additional enquiries were conducted and numerous wanted appeals were issued.
He appeared at Cheltenham Magistrate's Court the following day and pleaded guilty to the offences.
Investigating officer PC Damian Brogan said: "Maher posed a significant risk of harm to the public due to his reckless and selfish behaviour.
"His actions alone resulted in an innocent member of the public receiving serious injuries, that affect them to this day.
"I would like to thank both victims for their resilience and support throughout the investigation process.
"I would also like to thank the intelligence analyst and Police Staff Investigator on this case for their help in getting an understanding of the case and Maher's offending. These inputs really helped to get where we are today."
"Maher tried to evade capture but was unsuccessful, demonstrating the forces commitment to keeping the public safe and bringing offenders to justice."