A jealous student who ran over his girlfriend and left her with life-changing injuries has been jailed for more than ten years.

Lakshmam Samarakoon, aged 20, “mowed down” his partner in Amersham during a fit of jealous rage, breaking multiple bones in her left leg and injuring her so severely that doctors considered amputation.

Samarakoon, of Pinner Hill Road in Pinner, Harrow, was sentenced to 11 years and eight months in prison at Aylesbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm.

His victim, Dina Sapra, now 19, had been an avid swimmer, netball, and tennis player, and got four A*s in her A-levels, but had to put her academic life on hold and will never be able to compete in her beloved sports again.

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Sentencing Samarakoon, judge Francis Sheridan said: “This was a wicked offence driven by jealousy.

“This was the worst decision you have ever made in your own selfish way. This was your girlfriend who you have effectively maimed for life.”

Why did he run her over?

The court heard from Claire Robinson, prosecuting, how in the run-up to the horrific incident, which took place in Longwood Lane on July 12, 2020, Samarakoon had acted in a jealous and controlling way towards Ms Sapra.

Ms Robinson said how in 2018, when Ms Sapra went on holiday with her family to Dubai, Samarakoon told her that he would kill himself when he saw pictures of her socialising with other people.

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The court heard how throughout their relationship, Samarakoon would track his girlfriend’s movements on the app Snapchat, check her phone for messages from other boys, and regularly block her male contacts.

Ms Robinson said: “He wanted to be the biggest priority in her life.

“There was less trust in her and he wanted to see photos, check her phone and sometimes blocked contact from boys she had contact with on social media.”

This behaviour culminated and came to a head just after midnight on July 12, when both attended a mutual friend’s 18th birthday party in Amersham.

Ms Sapra, who was 18 at the time, had arrived first and when Samarakoon, then aged 19, got to the party, driving his parents’ Vauxhall Astra.

Looking at his girlfriend’s phone, when he saw messages from a male friend, Samarakoon accused her of cheating on him and took the device, going back to the car and getting into the drivers’ seat. Ms Sapra followed, demanding that he return her mobile.

Out in the cul-de-sac, CCTV footage seen in the court showed that Samarakoon reversed the car, forcing Ms Sapra to jump out of the way.

She could then be seen running away up onto the pavement. After reversing, Samarakoon turned the car in her direction, drove up onto the pavement and hit her, leaving his victim lying on the ground.

Expert analysis revealed that the car was going at a speed below 17mph.

The footage then showed Samarakoon immediately get out of the car and go to the victim while talking on the phone. The court later learned that he had called 999.

In the 999 call, the court heard how Samarakoon had confessed to the crime, asked for police to come and arrest him and said he’d made a “terrible mistake”.

Ambulance and police arrived on the scene, taking Ms Sapra to John Radcliffe hospital for emergency treatment and arresting Samarakoon.

“He showed real respect for her”

Samarakoon’s defence lawyer, Lisa Wilson, tried to argue that her client had “respected” his victim in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

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She told the court that he had attempted to give her first aid after hitting her with the car, but “respected her wishes” when she told him to stay away from her.

Ms Wilson said: “It (the car) is not a gun, it’s not an item that necessarily causes harm, it was not brought to the scene for use as a weapon in the way that extreme weapons like a gun are.

“He has positive good character. He’s a young man who had a lot of potential to do a lot of good for society

“Very few people remain on the scene, he showed real respect for her. He wanted to help her with first aid but respected her wishes to remain away.”

What did the judge say?

Despite Ms Wilson’s arguments, Judge Francis Sheridan did not hold back when sentencing Samarakoon, calling his conduct “wicked.”

He said: “This was an offence driven by jealousy on a loving girl.

“You believed you deserved to have the ultimate say as to what she did with her own life, you had no right.

“After you crashed into her, when sense descended and you tried your best to prevent whatever you could, she didn’t want you to touch her. Who can blame her?

“It’s not a knife, it’s not a gun, but it was just the same damage when you deliberately drive into somebody.

“It just shows everybody you can destroy someone’s life chances even at slow speeds if you deliberately mow them down.”

Judge Sheridan sentenced Samarakoon to 11 years and eight months in prison for the charge of GBH with intent.

He also received an eight-year driving ban, which will come into effect when he gets out of prison on licence.

He has also been issued with an indefinite restraining order against his victim.

Samarakoon had also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving and drink driving. He was given no separate penalty for the dangerous driving charge and given a four-month sentence for dangerous driving, which will run concurrently with the rest of his sentence.

Before ending the hearing, Judge Sheridan addressed Ms Sapra’s family members in court.

He said: “I wish her the best recovery she can.

“You can continue to be fiercely proud, and I am confident that she will continue to be the pride of your lives.”

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