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Family’s fight for compensation six years after devastating accident

Family’s fight for compensation six years after devastating accident

Rona Brooks

Troy Brooks

First published in New Forest Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

IT happened in just a split second but it completely shattered the lives of a Hampshire family – and robbed their son of a normal life.

Troy Brooks was a happy-go-lucky 11-year-old who was in all the top classes at school, but that changed when he was knocked down by a car and left fighting for his life.

Now, six years later, the family have launched a legal battle for more than £300,000 c o m p e n s a t i o n from the driver – named in the High Court writ as Sophie Lennards, from Fawley.

The action comes despite a police investigation in which the driver was never charged with any offence.

But just months later, the same driver crashed her car on the A326, while high on drugs and having no insurance, killing her friend, Robert McGeogh. She was jailed for four years.

Legal papers say it was Miss Lennards who was driving the blue Peugeot 306 which hit Troy, six months earlier in June 2005, as he crossed Hampton Lane to his mum, Rona, as he left Blackfield Junior School. Rona was sat in her car when she heard a thud and got out to see her son on the ground.

At Southampton General Hospital, Troy’s parents were told that he might not make it through the night and they, with his older sister, Hayley and brother, Decca, prepared to say goodbye.

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But against the odds Troy woke from his coma ten days later.

However, a bleed on his brain caused irreparable damage and their lives were turned upside down as they all struggled to cope with the aftermath of the crash.

Troy has learned to walk again, but his brain injury has left him suffering from mood swings, low energy levels and depression.

His mum says that Troy’s whole personality changed, leaving him prone to angry outbursts, severe short-term memory loss, eating disorders and even led to him trying to take his own life.

Rona, 44, from Blackfield, said: “It has completely destroyed our lives.

The past six years have been worse than a nightmare and our lives are just unrecognisable now.

“My son has been changed forever.

His short term memory means I can’t leave him to cook or run a bath because he will forget about it and although he is getting to the age where he would like to live on his own, I can’t see how that will be possible and that is heartbreaking.”

“The stress of it all caused my 18- year marriage to fall apart, we lost our house and I have been left with post-traumatic stress.

“I will never be able to forget the sight of him covered in blood and with all those tubes coming out of him in hospital. It was terrifying.”

Troy currently receives counselling but long-term rehabilitation is vital to his recovery, plus his disabilities have made it almost impossible for him to find work his mum says.

The family are looking to recover those costs in damages from Sophie Lennards, 19 at the time of the crash, who their solicitors have accused of being negligent for driving too fast as children were leaving school, failing to slow down, failing to see Troy and failing to avoid the accident by breaking or swerving.

A spokesman for Hampshire police said: “Following the collision on June 22, 2005, Roads Policing Unit officers carried out a full investigation that did not find any evidence of unlawful activity having taken place, and concluded that the driver was not at fault.

“No further police action was taken.”

The Daily Echo contacted Miss Lennards last night but she declined to comment.

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