A VICTIM lucky to be alive after a horror crash has forgiven the teenage driver who nearly killed him.

Daniel Hawkesford, 19, lost control of his BMW 1 series car when he ploughed into Jake Harris on the pavement after hitting a wall in Cwmbran.

The 24-year-old retail worker was walking home when he was hit from behind by the defendant who was driving more than twice the 30mph speed limit.

Hawkesford was spared an immediate custodial sentence after a judge heard he was the primary carer for his terminally ill mother and younger brother.

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Although Mr Harris did suffer serious injuries, he was still fortunate to escape with just a 7cm wound to the back of his head, which needed 11 stitches, a broken toe and the loss of two toenails which have since grown back.

Outside Newport Crown Court, he told the Argus: “I’m lucky to be alive. I feel like the luckiest guy in town.

“Everyone told me I was lucky to be alive, the police and the ambulance crew.

“I forgive Daniel. I don’t feel angry and I don’t bear any ill feeling towards him at all. I’m not a vengeful person.”

Mr Harris, who is from Cwmbran, was walking to visit a friend’s house after finishing a shift at work and was wearing a high visibility jacket when he was struck in the early hours of Thursday, January 10, on Station Road in Pontnewydd.

He said of Hawkesford: “He is a nice guy from a nice family and he knows what he’s done.

“He came up to me before he was sentenced and told me how sorry he was.

“I accepted his apology and we shook hands.

“I would have felt terrible had he gone into custody. I would have felt guilty.

“I am making a good recovery but I have suffered months of sleepless nights.

“It was just that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Hawkesford, of Tenby Close, Llanyravon, Cwmbran, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Rebecca Griffiths told the court that Mr Harris briefly lost consciousness after the crash and residents came out of their homes to help him and the defendant who had to be cut of his car by firefighters.

She said Hawkesford was driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone and may have been distracted by a cat running across the road.

The court heard the defendant had no previous convictions and no penalty points on his driving licence. He suffered whiplash injuries in the smash.

The prosecutor said that when CCTV footage showing him hitting Mr Harris was played to him by detectives, Hawkesford “broke down in tears”.

Derek Perry, mitigating, said: “The defendant wishes to express his sorrow and remorse to his victim.

“The two shook hands earlier and Mr Harris accepted his apology.”

Mr Perry said his client had wished to go into higher education but had to abandon his studies and go out to work in order to provide for his mother and brother.

The defendant is currently employed at butcher's shop.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke told Hawkesford his behaviour that night had been described as “out of character”.

She said his offending crossed the custody threshold but she said she could suspended his sentence.

He was sent to a young offender institution for 16 months, suspended for 18 months.

Hawkesford must also carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and be the subject of electronically monitored curfew between 8pm and 5am for five months.

The defendant was banned from driving for three years and must sit an extended re-test.

He also has to pay a victim surcharge.