Driver jailed after car ploughs into house in Yorkshire injuring three people

Sparham's high-performance car smashed through the wall into the family's living room
Sparham's high-performance car smashed through the wall into the family's living room
Have your say

A driver who careered off the road and into a family’s front room has today been jailed for five years.

James Sparham, 29, was driving a high-performance Volkswagen Golf R which burst into flames after smashing into the house in Morehall Close, Rawcliffe, near York.

The crash caused huge damage to the house in Rawcliffe

The crash caused huge damage to the house in Rawcliffe

A 54-year-old who who was in the house, suffered serious leg injuries, while Sparham’s two passengers also sustained broken bones and lacerations.

Emergency services who arrived at the scene in the early hours of last September 3 to find a hole in the house and Sparham’s Golf ablaze in the living room, next to the sofa.

The three occupants, including a child, managed to escape with the help of neighbours.

Witnesses later told police they heard “screeching” and saw a white Volkswagen being driven in a “dangerous” manner immediately before the crash.

The trajectory of the crash

The trajectory of the crash

Police carried out extensive forensic tests, recreating what had happened using a similar car and determined that even with the steering at full lock, the car should not have lost control.

They were unable to find any evidence that Sparham had tried to avoid a collision or any defects with the vehicle.

Also in the news: Multiple casualties after four-car crash near scenic Yorkshire reservoir
The labourer, of Geldof Road, Huntington, York, was jailed at York Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and criminal damage.

He was also banned from driving for seven-and-a-half years and will have to sit an extended driving test before he is allowed back on the roads.

Driver James Sparham

Driver James Sparham

After today’s hearing, Detective Sergeant Jeremy Bartley of the Major Collision Investigation Team, who led the investigation, said: “The choices Sparham made that night have had a catastrophic impact on innocent people.

“The damage he did was not just to a family’s home, but also to their health and their wellbeing – damage which continues to this day. Lives have been changed forever.

“The sad thing is, our investigation has shown that this incident was absolutely avoidable. It didn’t have to happen. It was an act of stupidity that had dire consequences.

“The advanced techniques we used to investigate cases such as this allow us to piece together an incredibly detailed picture of what happened, and why it happened. So even without the driver’s full co-operation, we’re able to build a case that is strong enough to convict people of serious driving offences.

“This was a long and complex investigation, so I’m relieved that Sparham is not only off our roads, but also has plenty of time to reflect on his actions while serving his custodial sentence.”

MOT test change rules: the strict rules being introduced in May