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Army teen jailed for dangerous driving

PUBLISHED: 13:24 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:55 16 September 2010

A TEENAGER due to start a tour of duty in Afghanistan has been jailed for dangerous driving.

Michael Bulmer, from York Lane, Stalham, crashed after a "suicidal" overtaking manoeuvre on the B1150 between North Walsham and Norwich.

A TEENAGER due to start a tour of duty in Afghanistan has been jailed for dangerous driving.

Michael Bulmer, from York Lane, Stalham, crashed after a “suicidal” overtaking manoeuvre on the B1150 between North Walsham and Norwich. His car collided with two trees, causing serious head injuries to a young female passenger.

Bulmer was sentenced to six months in prison at Norwich Crown Court and is now also likely to be discharged from the army.

He had been due to leave for several months of training in the Californian desert before serving in Afghanistan from January.

On October 22 last year he was driving a Vauxhall Corsa which he had owned for just three months.

His brother, Simon Bulmer, and Simon's girlfriend Rachel Sneddon, 20, were passengers.

Bulmer overtook several cars and a lorry despite pleas from his brother that it was dangerous as they were approaching a blind crest in the road. His brother later described his driving as “utter madness”. Bulmer eventually lost control of the car after narrowly avoiding a head-on collision.

Miss Sneddon, from Australia, was knocked unconscious in the crash and airlifted to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, where she spent three days on life support.

She was released after two weeks, but suffered from persistent pain in her back and neck, severe headaches and had difficulty with problem solving and short-term memory.

Police investigators said that the road conditions on the day were damp and that Bulmer had ignored several “slow” signs on the road.

Rachel Cushing, prosecuting, said that a driver who witnessed the crash described the move as “suicidal”.

She added that Miss Sneddon was unable to fly after her injuries and her family had to travel to the UK to help with her treatment and recovery.

Captain Kate Lindvall, from Bulmer's squadron at Wattisham in Suffolk, told the court that he had worked refuelling and rearming aircraft in the Army Air Corps.

However, because of the severity of his sentence, it was likely that he would be thrown out of the army.

Michael Clare, defending, said that his client had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was remorseful.

“He's brave enough to do that as he's brave enough to go to Afghanistan,” he said.

He described the incident as a case of “bad misjudgement” and “one moment of stupidity”.

Recorder John Akast said: “You're a young man and you were an idiot on that day. The end result was appalling. In a sense you were all incredibly lucky in that car.”

He sentenced Bulmer to six months in prison for dangerous driving and banned him from driving for two years.

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