Banned driver who injured two women and six-year-old girl in head-on crash on A35 faces jail

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:31 12 April 2018

Banned Charmouth driver John Cove.

Banned Charmouth driver John Cove.


A banned driver who injured two women and a six-year-old girl in a high speed head-on crash has been told he will face a jail sentence.

John Cove had been banned from driving just three weeks before the horrific late night crash on the A35 between Axminster and Honiton in November 2016.

His BMW had already overtaken several cars at speed before it crashed into a Renault Megane, causing serious injuries to the driver and two of her three passengers.

Cove, aged 31, was heading home to Charmouth shortly before midnight on November 19, 2016, when the crash happened close to Loughwood House, Dalwood.

He told police he was a passenger rather than the driver of the BMW but changed his plea after police carried out further forensic tests.

He jumped bail last November and was only traced after police issued a public appeal and released a photo of him.

Cove, of Heritage Mews, Charmouth, admitted three counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court. The three charges relate to the injuries suffered by Olivia Kozoil, Izabella Szewe, and Anna Szkutnik. They were the 39-year-old driver of the Renault, and her passengers, aged 29 and six at the time.

Ms Szkutnik is still walking on crutches and sat in the public gallery as Cove entered his pleas.

Mr Adrian Chaplin, prosecuting, said police will obtain an updated victim impact statement from her, which will be available when Cove is sentenced next week.

He said the accident happened exactly three weeks after Cove received the latest of several driving bans, which meant he was driving while disqualified and without insurance at the time of the accident.

Mr Joss Ticehurst, defending, said Cove is not asking for a probation pre-sentence report because he accepts that an immediate jail sentence is inevitable.

Recorder Mr Paul Dunkels, QC, remanded Cove in custody and adjourned the case for sentence on Monday afternoon.

He told him: “It is inevitable you will receive a prison sentence.”

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