A teenager who left a young boy fighting for his life after running him over in a stolen van told police, “I was going to hand myself in after watching Love Island”, a court has heard.
The youth, aged 16, who cannot be named because of his age, was arrested at his home by police hours after ploughing into three-year-old Leo Durrington.
The teenager was in a Ford Transit van being pursued by police when he lost control on a bend on Wigan Road in Leigh, Greater Manchester, at around 10.35am on Tuesday.
Leo was “ripped from his mum’s hands”, police said, and catapulted 17 metres (55ft) across a pub car park.
He was put in an induced coma and it is suspected he may have a “significant” brain injury. His family are at his bedside in hospital. His prognosis is not known.
The driver admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Wigan Youth Court, where he welled up with tears and kept his head down, mumbling his guilty pleas to the court.
He also admitted failing to stop for police, failing to stop after a collision, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and a handling charge for the stolen van.
He was already accused of separate motoring offences before the van incident.
The court heard magistrates had to grant him bail, by law, until he is sentenced later this month.
A second youth, aged 15, was also bailed after pleading guilty to being carried in the stolen vehicle.
James Gore, prosecuting, earlier told the court a Ford Transit Connect van was stolen on October 29, and the 16-year-old was spotted driving it at around 10am the next day on Leigh Road in Leigh.
It was followed by a police car but “reacted” by accelerating up to 50mph or 60mph and overtaking other vehicles.
As the van made a right turn it left the road outside a pub and mounted the pavement.
Mr Gore continued: “On the footpath at that time is a mother and a three-year-old.
“The mother is clipped by the wing mirror of the vehicle but the three-year-old is hit and ejected 17 metres into a nearby car park.”
The van failed to stop and was later found abandoned. The 15-year-old, after contacting his solicitor, handed himself in to police that evening.
Around two hours later, at 9.30pm, a police officer went to the 16-year-old’s home to arrest him.
The defendant told the officer: “It’s all right, I was going to hand myself in after watching Love Island,” the court heard.
He later told police he did not see the youngster or his mother when he drove away.
Kevin Liston, defending, said: “The demeanour of the defendant in court is understandable. He is 16 and has no previous convictions.”
Both youths were bailed on condition they do not contact each other and do not enter a vehicle unless it is a taxi or is driven by an adult relative, a social worker or a member of the youth offending team.
The older boy must observe a 7pm to 7am home curfew.
Both will be sentenced on November 15 at Wigan Youth Court.
Lawyers said the case cannot be transferred to crown court so the maximum sentence the 16-year-old can face is two years’ detention.
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