‘It was like a bomb going off’ – Family tell of horrific moment car smashed into their front room

The VW Golf driven by James Sparham after it smashed into their home. Photograph: Danny Lawson/ PA Wire
30 Apr 2018 @ 7.33 pm
| Crime, News

One moment David and Claire Garnett were watching TV in their living room – the next a scene of devastation exploded around them.

The couple were in the house destroyed by dangerous driver James Sparham last September.

In a statement they released after Sparham was jailed for five years at York Crown Court on Monday (April 30), Mr and Mrs Garnett painted a vivid picture of how their world was devastated in a split second.

Buried under rubble

Mr Garnett was trapped under rubble – then the car caught fire

At 1.25am on Sunday, September 3, their youngest son was in bed and the couple were relaxing in the living room of their home on Morehall Close, Rawcliffe, watching TV.

Seconds after Claire got up to go into the kitchen there was what David described as “the sound of a bomb going off”.

In their statement, they describe what happened next.

David was buried under debris and rubble trapped by it and the car.

Claire had been in the adjacent kitchen at the time and turned to her horror to see a car had blasted through the side wall of their home and was in the middle of the lounge with her husband David buried under rubble on the sofa at the far side of the car.

Claire climbed over the burning car and cleared rubble off David then climbed back over it having to carry and pull David over the burning car all the while terrified it would explode.

Claire fortunately rescued David to the rear of their home whilst the car set alight in their lounge setting fire to the house and its contents all of which have been lost.

Police at the scene soon after the incident. Photograph: Andrew Whitney

Terrible injuries

David sustained multiple injuries including

  • loss of vision in his right eye
  • extreme lower limb injuries requiring extensive skin grafts
  • a broken nose
  • and numerous soft tissue lacerations and injuries.

He was in the Leeds Major Trauma unit and York Hospital for six weeks.

This was followed by a gruelling period of treatment which is ongoing. David, 54, has been left with life-long injuries.

Claire has suffered back and neck injuries as well as extensive soft tissue trauma and both have suffered severe post traumatic stress.

The VW Golf smashed through a wall after leaving the road. Photograph: Danny Lawson/ PA Wire

David and Claire said: “The one place anyone should always be able to feel safe is within the four walls of your own home.”

Their statement goes on:

They were both enjoying life to the full looking forward to the future. This devastating incident has brought serious injury, hardship, uncertainty, anxiety and depression.

Their lives have been shattered.

The family wishes to thank North Yorkshire Police, ambulance and fire department for their prompt response and also to family, neighbours, friends and the community for their tremendous support.

Thanks extend to the medical professionals both in Leeds and York hospitals and to York school and college for support to their children.