Driver being sued for £300,000 after police officer left in a semi-coma

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The family of an Eastbourne police officer who has been in a semi-coma since a horrific crash 18 months ago is suing the driver for damages of more than £300,000.

Police sergeant Wendy Dowman suffered catastrophic injuries including a very severe brain injury and has never regained full consciousness since the accident on September 5 2010.

The 41-year-old was driving her Saab car in Hellingly when a trailer towed by Jonathan Hobden’s Land Rover became detached and hit her vehicle.

Miss Dowman, a former Cavendish School pupil, was airlifted to the Royal London in Whitechapel where she spent many months before being transferred to a specialist trauma unit in Salisbury. She is now at Chaseley in Eastbourne.

Miss Dowman has only been minimally conscious since the accident and needs round-the-clock care and is fed through a tube.

According to a High Court writ issued this week, Miss Dowman will be at an increased risk of epilepsy for the rest of her life as a result of her injuries and has also suffered a future loss of earnings.

Hobden, a company director, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court in March 2011, and was given a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

The driver, of Nunningham Farm, Badham Lane, Herstmonceux, Hailsham, was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1,500, and banned from driving for 18 months.

The court proceedings have been issued by Miss Dowman’s brother Martin Dowman who accuses Hobden of negligence and says he failed to put a safety pin into a towbar and when he realised he had forgotten, failed to stop and put it in.

It is also alleged Hobden drove his Land Rover when a breaking cable had not been properly fitted, and failed to manage and control the trailer properly.

Miss Dowman’s mother was also badly injured in the crash.