A driver who smashed his car into a brand new £200million shopping centre in a failed suicide bid is being sued for more than £200,000 for the damage he caused.
Depressed James Williams, 25, drove his Ford Puma into Cabot Circus in Bristol at up to 100mph – shattering the largest shop window in Europe.
Amazingly, he survived the crash because a passing doctor administered first aid but has been left with a permanent limp from his injuries.
James, from Stoke Gifford, Bristol, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing criminal damage and was jailed for 21 months in July last year.
After being released from prison he is now being sued for £213,115.76 by the Bristol Alliance Partnership, which owns Cabot Circus – which opened just months before the crash.
This includes £115,000 for replacing wrecked windows, £50,000 for temporary support and consultants’ fees of £40,000.
The damage to the window of House of Fraser took months to be repaired due to the sheer size of the three bespoke toughened glass panels.
A High Court Writ states the accident and subsequent damage were a result of his negligence including driving dangerously and permitting his vehicle to collide with an obvious hazard.
Tabitha Cave, head of the health and safety team at lawyers Veale Wasbrough Vizards, which are based in Bristol, said the costs could get even higher for James.
She said: ”If the owners of Cabot Circus are successful with their claim against Mr Williams, then they will be entitled to seek payment of their legal costs, in addition to compensation for the repairs.
”Mr Williams is likely to be able to claim an indemnity for both from his insurers, even though the claim relates to his criminal behaviour.”
The incident happened at 1am on December 12 2008.
Other motorists estimated him to be driving at speeds of around 100mph as he entered both 60 and 30mph zones of the M32.
He ran a red light before he clipped a wall at a pedestrian crossing and flipped his car onto the roof of another car whose driver, Jamie Haynes, was waiting at traffic lights.
Mr Haynes’ car, an Audi A6, was pushed onto its side and he suffered a fractured shoulder, four fractured spinal vertebrae, a broken rib and a punctured lung.
James then smashed into the 30ft plate glass windows of the House and Fraser flagship store.
He was thrown from the car and suffered serious multiple injuries but was kept alive by the passing doctor from Bristol Royal Infirmary.
Bristol Crown Court heard Mr Williams had sent a series of texts to a work colleague indicating he wanted to end his life and police also found an apparent suicide note.
James was banned from driving for five years and must take an extended driving test before getting back behind the wheel.
The court also heard that he came from a stable background but was unhappy, although there was no reason why.