Former Bolton beauty queen ‘really, really sorry’ for leaving hit-and-run victim for dead

A former Miss Bolton beauty queen, who was jailed for 12 months after a hit-and run, has written to her victim insisting she had no idea she hit him.

Kristina Long, 26, sent David Robinson a letter saying she was ‘really, really sorry’ after he was flung 80 feet into the air and left for dead.

Long, who once represented Northern Ireland in a beauty pageant, hit Mr Robinson on a pedestrian crossing after a works Christmas party.

The former Miss Bolton and one-time Miss England then carried on her journey from Manchester to Bolton.

Museum technician Mr Robinson, 53, who was walking home from his own office Christmas party was left lying in the road with a fractured spine and fractured leg until an ambulance was called by a passing motorist.

He spent a month in Salford Royal Hospital with two fractures to his spine, two fractures to his leg which required surgery, a pelvic fracture, neck fractures and a bleed to the brain.

Long, who was a trainee lawyer at the time, was arrested two hours after the crash and tests showed she was twice the drink drive limit.

She then spent up to a year claiming she was not responsible for the near deadly hit-and-run.

But last February she was jailed for 12 months after she pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing serious injury, failing to stop at the scene of a collision and driving with excess alcohol.

She was also disqualified from driving for two years and is serving her sentence in Styal women’s jail in Cheshire.

Mr Robinson, who is suing Long’s insurers for damages, revealed she had written to him apologising – but insisting she had only drunk two glasses of wine in the run up to the crash.

“I was upset by the way she drove off and left me – that is the thing that resonates and is the most painful thing about it all,” he said.

“She didn’t really seem to take responsibility for it all, she kept saying she just had two glasses of wine but she was double the legal limit and that was quite a while after driving that they had tested her.

“During her court case she implied she had panicked but in a letter she sent me she said she was very sorry.

“She said she was really, really sorry for what happened to me and that she had only had two glasses of wine and that she didn’t know she had hit something.

“But I don’t actually believe that. One thing that came out of the trial is to see the photograph of the car damage and it was clearly a hard hit.”

Manchester Crown Court was told Long had been drinking wine and vodka at the trendy works bash held at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium by her law firm Keogh’s.

She had agreed to drive three friends into Manchester city centre at around midnight on December 15 2012 after partying for more than four hours.

On the way back home, she entered the 20mph zone in Salford driving at more than 30mph, where one of the friends began vomiting in the passenger seat of the Vauxhall Corsa due to drink, which distracted Long.

Her car then collided with Mr Robinson, causing injuries which left him in hospital for almost a month and in a neck brace for longer.

Long said she noticed to the damage to the car when she got home and a relative called police.

Police found she had 45mg of alcohol on her breath almost two hours after the incident – meaning she was likely to be at 61mg at the time.

The legal limit is 35mg.

Her car was also severely damaged from the impact with Mr Robinson’s body.

Long, of Altrincham, Greater Manchester and originally from Belfast, competed in World Miss University in 2010 representing Northern Ireland, where she won the ‘Miss Speech’ award.

Swapping the catwalk for the courtroom, she then became a lawyer at Keogh’s – described as: “The only ‘top 100’ law firm in the UK working exclusively in general insurance claims and an acknowledged market leader.”

When footage of the incident was shown to Long, she said: “Oh my God.”

She later told police she was distracted by her friend being sick in the car and she wasn’t familiar with the area so she was using her sat nav. She also vowed never to drive again.

The victim, a bachelor who creates displays at Salford Museum, has already needed several operations and external frames to be fitted to help with his recovery and faces a long rehabilitation battle.

“At the time of the accident I had booked a ski holiday and was very happy with the way my life was going,” he added.

“I don’t remember anything about the impact itself but I had to spend the next ten months having additional surgeries to correct my right leg which was fractured in many places.

“I basically had a broken neck and obviously the brain injury so we didn’t know if I was going to be able to lead a normal life

“I had a metal frame around my leg with steal pins going into the bones. I couldn’t walk and it could be incredibly painful. Some of the breaks didn’t heal properly so then I had to have another metal frame with metal wires through the bone.

“I had to go back to the hospital every month so it became my sole occupation for a while.

“Now there is the potential I can’t do my activities or hobbies. I used to run four or five times a week and it is quite an adjustment not to do so now – although I am just hoping to be able to do those things again.

“My memory was bad for a while. However, I just think I am luckier than some people and some of that is because I was active before the accident and I have pushed myself to heal.

“I used to love swimming, walking my dog and running before the crash but I am not mentally quite as fast I think.  I am just trying to go through normal life using pain killers and I plan ahead any activities I do now otherwise I will be laid up for a couple of days.

“I think the year sentence seems about right, even though she will do less than six months actual time. I don’t think she would have benefitted from being in prison for any longer.

“I suppose I feel slightly sorry for her and that she has had to go to prison but then I do feel irritation about the process of law and her pleading not-guilty.

“A person able to take responsibility would have just said ‘well yes I am guilty’.”

Mr Robinson’s lawyer Matt Brown, a partner and expert serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell said: “This was a horrific accident that could have been avoided had the defendant driver thought about the possible consequences of her actions.

“Also in this case the defendant failed to take responsibility for her actions and cruelly pleaded not guilty for a long period of time before changing her plea very late in the day.

“We are now working with the driver’s insurers to secure the necessary funds to help David with his rehabilitation so that he can begin to get his life back on track.”

Story via Cavendish Press

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