Family’s fight for compensation six years after devastating accident

Daily Echo: Rona Brooks Rona Brooks

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.

Comments (12)

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12:53pm Fri 17 Feb 12

Goldenwight says...

If the Police investigated, presumably Lennards must have had insurance at the time of the first accident?

The story also begs the question why wait so long before taking action? Possibly she was already in prison when the report of her innocence was concluded, but I would guess that she must have been freed some time ago.
If the Police investigated, presumably Lennards must have had insurance at the time of the first accident? The story also begs the question why wait so long before taking action? Possibly she was already in prison when the report of her innocence was concluded, but I would guess that she must have been freed some time ago. Goldenwight

2:12pm Fri 17 Feb 12

Huffter says...

"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." This does not reflect on the earlier incident and should not be taken into account.
"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." This does not reflect on the earlier incident and should not be taken into account. Huffter

2:57pm Fri 17 Feb 12

ohmywell says...

TROLLS the pair of you hope the same happens to you!!!!!
TROLLS the pair of you hope the same happens to you!!!!! ohmywell

3:07pm Fri 17 Feb 12

hulla baloo says...

ohmywell wrote:
TROLLS the pair of you hope the same happens to you!!!!!
Thats a bit harsh for valid points.
I would also beg the question on what grounds she is now, belatedly claiming, as the police at the time found no evidence of any wrong doing by the driver.
[quote][p][bold]ohmywell[/bold] wrote: TROLLS the pair of you hope the same happens to you!!!!![/p][/quote]Thats a bit harsh for valid points. I would also beg the question on what grounds she is now, belatedly claiming, as the police at the time found no evidence of any wrong doing by the driver. hulla baloo

3:18pm Fri 17 Feb 12

espanuel says...

ohmywell. I think lives in the Fawley area and might be a relative or friend of the driver. I think ohmywell should get a life instead of trying to pull others down to his level.
ohmywell. I think lives in the Fawley area and might be a relative or friend of the driver. I think ohmywell should get a life instead of trying to pull others down to his level. espanuel

3:57pm Fri 17 Feb 12

Huey says...

In the eyes of the law this claim is baseless as the police have judged no law to have been broken and the driver not at fault.
There can be no recourse for compensation.
In the eyes of the law this claim is baseless as the police have judged no law to have been broken and the driver not at fault. There can be no recourse for compensation. Huey

4:04pm Fri 17 Feb 12

ohec says...

If the police didn't take any action i would have thought they stood very little chance of getting anything, as i understand it the mother was parked on the other side of the road from the school so is she not partly to blame, its the same at all schools parents dropping of and picking up their children with little or no regard as to the safety of their children. But it seems to me to be a genuine accident and any future accidents are irrelevant and should not be considered.
If the police didn't take any action i would have thought they stood very little chance of getting anything, as i understand it the mother was parked on the other side of the road from the school so is she not partly to blame, its the same at all schools parents dropping of and picking up their children with little or no regard as to the safety of their children. But it seems to me to be a genuine accident and any future accidents are irrelevant and should not be considered. ohec

4:42pm Fri 17 Feb 12

downfader says...

There have been several cases in the UK here improper investigation has been carried out and killer drivers have been let off (one of the most famous is that of Marie Vesco).

@Huffter-
I disagree. You have evidence of a consistent misbehaviour and it should be taken into account. The courts already do this for sexual offences, there's no reason to avoid the same approach for other offences. Though this appears to be a private lawsuit

@Goldenwight-
It depends on what legal advice the family may have been given and when. For something like this it isnt typical of the no-win-no-fee kinds of practice so I'm assuming they've got a good lawyer, perhaps a specialist on the case.

Only assumptions, mind.

@Ohec.
You cannot blame the mother for parking across the road. 11 is usually a reasonable age for kids to safely cross many roads. However if the car *was* going too fast then kids arent as good as adults at interpreting speed. This is a very strong reason why 20mph zones are being encouraged around schools and residential areas.
There have been several cases in the UK here improper investigation has been carried out and killer drivers have been let off (one of the most famous is that of Marie Vesco). @Huffter- I disagree. You have evidence of a consistent misbehaviour and it should be taken into account. The courts already do this for sexual offences, there's no reason to avoid the same approach for other offences. Though this appears to be a private lawsuit @Goldenwight- It depends on what legal advice the family may have been given and when. For something like this it isnt typical of the no-win-no-fee kinds of practice so I'm assuming they've got a good lawyer, perhaps a specialist on the case. Only assumptions, mind. @Ohec. You cannot blame the mother for parking across the road. 11 is usually a reasonable age for kids to safely cross many roads. However if the car *was* going too fast then kids arent as good as adults at interpreting speed. This is a very strong reason why 20mph zones are being encouraged around schools and residential areas. downfader

6:01pm Fri 17 Feb 12

Goldenwight says...

As regards suggestions above that there is no legal recourse against an innocent driver, this isn't strictly the case.

There has been no criminal offence committed (admittedly in this case, there was in the latter incident) but a civil action (effectively against the Insurance company) is a possibility. It depends very much on the circumstances of the case, and no doubt we will hear more of this in due course.
As regards suggestions above that there is no legal recourse against an innocent driver, this isn't strictly the case. There has been no criminal offence committed (admittedly in this case, there was in the latter incident) but a civil action (effectively against the Insurance company) is a possibility. It depends very much on the circumstances of the case, and no doubt we will hear more of this in due course. Goldenwight

6:43pm Fri 17 Feb 12

kazza63 says...

I would like to add that the driver had a police drug test after the accident and passed, yes the car was taxed and insured. It was a very tragic accident. The witness in the car behind said if he had crossed the road seconds later it would of been him involved. Yes 10-11 year old's should be able to cross the road safely he choose to run across the road and not use the zebra crossing and the lollypop lady. Yes there was another accident totally irrelevent to this(which the echo would not take into account before they printed this story) and the driver accepted responsibility and served a prison sentence.
I would like to add that the driver had a police drug test after the accident and passed, yes the car was taxed and insured. It was a very tragic accident. The witness in the car behind said if he had crossed the road seconds later it would of been him involved. Yes 10-11 year old's should be able to cross the road safely he choose to run across the road and not use the zebra crossing and the lollypop lady. Yes there was another accident totally irrelevent to this(which the echo would not take into account before they printed this story) and the driver accepted responsibility and served a prison sentence. kazza63

9:18am Sat 18 Feb 12

Georgem says...

"Begging the question". You keep using that phrase; It does not mean what you think it means
"Begging the question". You keep using that phrase; It does not mean what you think it means Georgem

6:22pm Mon 20 Feb 12

Dwella says...

It is sad to hear when anyone is knocked over and injured or even worse killed by a car. It takes only a spilt second to cause an accident... whether it be your fault or someone elses.

The police found no fault at the time, otherwise the young girl would have been charged. The mother of the boy who got injured is probably only trying to claim money because she heard the driver was involved in a crash that killed someone.

The only thing I would like to say to the young driver is 'didn't you learn from the first incident? Why drive like a t*** 6 months later when you have already seen what the results of an accident are. Whether it be your fault or the boys. The first accident may not have been your fault but I know for sure if it was me driving and hit a boy, I certainly wouldn't drive fast and on drugs 6 months later.
You have served your time. I hope this blows over so you can get on with your life.
It is sad to hear when anyone is knocked over and injured or even worse killed by a car. It takes only a spilt second to cause an accident... whether it be your fault or someone elses. The police found no fault at the time, otherwise the young girl would have been charged. The mother of the boy who got injured is probably only trying to claim money because she heard the driver was involved in a crash that killed someone. The only thing I would like to say to the young driver is 'didn't you learn from the first incident? Why drive like a t*** 6 months later when you have already seen what the results of an accident are. Whether it be your fault or the boys. The first accident may not have been your fault but I know for sure if it was me driving and hit a boy, I certainly wouldn't drive fast and on drugs 6 months later. You have served your time. I hope this blows over so you can get on with your life. Dwella

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