Corby teen driver given six points after woman left in 'terrible pain' two years after A43 crash

Michael Rooney was just 16 when he was caught driving with no insurance

By Kate Cronin
Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 9:48 am
Helen Worley has a 'long road ahead of her'. Copyright: The Worley family.
Helen Worley has a 'long road ahead of her'. Copyright: The Worley family.

A Corby teen has been handed a fine and a driving ban after admitting driving a powerful Audi A5 with no insurance on the day of a horrific crash that left a Kettering woman in hospital for six months.

Michael Rooney also pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a licence at the age of just 15 by pretending to be disabled.

Rooney, of Stanion Lane, Corby, appeared in the youth court which carries automatic anonymity for defendants because he was only 16 at the time of the crash, but he can now be named for the first time after he turned 18.

Helen Worley, then 52, was driving to her Kettering home along the A43 on November 28, 2018, after a long day at work as a seamstress at Delta Dry Cleaners in Kingsthorpe, Northampton when her Ford Focus was in a crash with an Audi A5 and a Citroen Van between Broughton and Kettering.

She was taken to Coventry University Hospital with a broken ankle, a broken wrist, a broken pelvis, five breaks to her right femur, two broken vertebrae, an open wound and break under the knee and was left with a speech impediment after biting down hard on her tongue.

After dozens of hours of surgery, doctors carefully rebuilt Helen's broken body. She spent six months in Coventry, Kettering and Isebrook Hospitals and, nearly two years on, has not recovered from her injuries.

Cruelly, her husband also died during her recovery, leaving her to face her battle alone.

Michael Rooney was charged with driving a brand new grey Audi A5, thought to be worth more than £40,000, with no insurance on the day of the crash. He was also accused of making a false statement to the DLA to obtain a driving licence in April 2018, when he was aged only 15.

Although the legal driving age is normally 17, the law allows children to pass their test from the date of their 16th birthday if they receive the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance. Rooney fraudulently claimed he was in receipt of this benefit so he could legally drive the brand-new 18-plate Audi after he turned 16 in May 2018.

He denied the offences for nearly two years, and then pleaded guilty to both charges on the day his trial was due to take place at Northampton Magistrates' Court last month.

Rooney, who was accompanied in court by his father, has not been charged with any driving offences in relation to the crash itself.

Speaking to the Northants Telegraph, after the sentencing, Helen's daughter Kate Worley said: "She's out of hospital now but in terrible pain. She's also suffered another fracture recently.

"She came out of hospital in April 2019 and had six weeks of rehab at Isebrook and then finally came home.

"Sadly my dad then passed away in September. Mum can hardly walk and she's having to deal with this and my dad's death.

"This has been the worst two years of my life. The legal process has been incredibly frustrating.

"Mum has a long road ahead of her and she's on her own now. Me and my brother can't go as much as we'd like because of the Covid restrictions. We're just trying to be positive for her."

On the fraud offence, Rooney was given a 12-month conditional discharge. On the charge of driving with no insurance he was ordered to pay costs of £310, told to pay the victim surcharge fund £15, and disqualified from driving for nine months due to being a repeat offender. His licence was endorsed with six penalty points.