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E scooter rider who crashed into Canterbury woman spared prison


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A student who seriously injured a mum-of-three when he smashed into her on an electric scooter has narrowly avoided prison.

Joshua Mpia, 19, left Pauline Lilford with a broken leg and arm after knocking her down on a pavement in Canterbury last year.

Joshua Mpia crashed into Pauline Lilford in St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, in November 2020. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Joshua Mpia crashed into Pauline Lilford in St Thomas Hill, Canterbury, in November 2020. Picture: Barry Goodwin

The teenager has now been handed a suspended jail sentence - which Mrs Lilford has welcomed, hoping it will "act as a deterrent" to others.

The 59-year-old had been out walking with her husband at about 8am on November 10, when Mpia crashed into her from behind at 20mph in St Thomas Hill.

She described the experience - which saw her flung through the air - as “like being hit by a car”.

On Thursday, Canterbury Crown Court was told Mpia had mounted the pavement in order to evade a car approaching him from behind.

Mpia had switched off the scooter’s power and had been free-wheeling the vehicle down the hill when he failed to brake in time and hit Mrs Lilford.

Pauline Lilford, pictured last November, was badly injured when she was hit by an e scooter in Canterbury. Picture: Mike Lilford
Pauline Lilford, pictured last November, was badly injured when she was hit by an e scooter in Canterbury. Picture: Mike Lilford

The politics and international relations student, from east London, remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and driving without a licence.

E scooters are illegal to ride in public unless rented as part of government-backed trials, such as the pilot scheme currently in place in Canterbury.

Mpia’s was privately owned and not hired as part of the scheme.

But Kerry Waitt, mitigating, argued the student had been unaware of the laws surrounding the use of the vehicles.

The crash happened in St Thomas Hill, Canterbury. Picture: Google Street View
The crash happened in St Thomas Hill, Canterbury. Picture: Google Street View

“It was a lesson to me that unless these scooters are used as part of a scheme then they are unauthorised," said Mr Waitt.

“People are unaware that they are unauthorised, and when one buys an e scooter it does not come with a warning.

“A message needs to be sent out to those unaware people who purchase such a conveyance."

Mr Waitt added that Mpia is of previous good character with high hopes in his academic subject, and is remorseful following the crash.

Prosecutor Laura Blackburn told how Mrs Lilford required surgery to rewire her elbow following the crash.

“It was a long recovery process and may need further surgery," she said.

Pauline Lilford, pictured in November 2020, broke an arm and a leg in the crash. Picture: Mike Lilford
Pauline Lilford, pictured in November 2020, broke an arm and a leg in the crash. Picture: Mike Lilford

Mpia was handed a six-month sentence suspended for two years, along with a two-year driving ban, and was ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Passing down the sentence, Judge James O’Mahoney said Mpia had “no business being on the pavement”.

“What happened demonstrates the risk with what can happen with these scooters," he said.

Mrs Lilford has welcomed the sentence, saying she hopes it will raise awareness of the dangers e scooters can pose.

"I'm glad that they've taken it seriously," she said.

"Hopefully it will make other people think about their actions.

"I still think people don't realise the seriousness of (e scooters), and what damage they can cause.

"With a bit of luck, this will make people think twice and highlight the problems with these things."

"There still needs to be more clarification on what's allowed and what isn't..."

Mrs Lilford has finally been able to enjoy walks with her husband again, after suffering for a long time with a limp following the accident - but now avoids walking in St Thomas Hill.

"Even now when e scooters come up behind me I'm jittery," she said. "It's horrible."

The grandmother is not yet able to face undergoing further surgery to remove wiring from her elbow, and still requires twice-weekly gym and hydrotherapy to help with the movement in her arm and leg.

"If I'll ever get back to the fitness I was - I don't know," she said.

Mrs Lilford says more must be done to inform people about the laws surrounding e scooters.

"They don't realise it is like a small car - it's a motorised vehicle," she said.

"I think there still needs to be more clarification on what's allowed and what isn't, because people are just unaware."

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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