A COUNCIL contractor has been jailed following a crash which left a teenager with life-long injuries.

Geoffrey Lee, 29, was driving a van near Tesco Extra, in Hazelmere, Pitsea, when the door swung out and hit Siam McEwan.

The 17-year-old was left with a fractured skull, broken shoulder, and is now deaf in one ear following the crash last June.

It later emerged Lee had been working for grass-cutting company English Landscapes, on behalf of Basildon Council, but failed to tell them he had no licence and insurance. He had also taken the van despite expressly being told not to use it.

Southend Crown Court heard Lee first crashed it into a Saab, lifting the vehicle eight inches into the air, before driving away with the back doors of the van flapping open.

It was then that one of the doors struck Siam who was with her boyfriend, Michael Hoskyn.

The crash left her with permanent deafness in one ear, constant pain and ringing in her ear, and difficulties with her balance.

Judge Alice Robinson said the crash had a lasting effect on Siam which went beyond her physical injuries.

She said: “She found the whole incident extremely distressing. She is nervous walking along the road, and has had to alter her routine because of the stresses and strains which the accident has caused her.”

Lee, of Stanfield Road, Southend, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving without due care and attention, driving with no licence, and driving with no insurance.

The Crown Prosecution Service accepted he did not realise he had struck Siam. Charges of failing to stop and driving without due care and attention were dropped after Lee pleaded not guilty to both.

The court heard he had previous convictions for failing to stop, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance.

Lee, who is the father of a 13-month-old son, was jailed for ten months and banned from driving for two years.

No order was made for costs or compensation because of the prison sentence.

A pre-sentence probation service report said Lee saw the offences as a series of unfortunate accidents beyond his control.

However, Nick Bonehill, mitigating, said his client was “devastated by the effect his actions had on the victims” after the crash.

He added: “The suggestion is not that he was trying or did in fact actively seek to harm anyone.”