A driver has been jailed after paralysing his girlfriend during a crash on the A12 while high on a cocktail of drugs.

On October 31, Ashley Jackson, 30, was driving a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun near Kelvedon having taken heroin, methadone and crack.

His former girlfriend suffered serious spinal cord injuries, bleeding on the brain and fractures.

She is now paralysed and remains at the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, but is slowly beginning to move her legs again.

David Stanton, prosecuting at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday, said: “The Mitsubishi Shogun had been stolen earlier that month from its owner, it’s not suggested that he had anything to do with it, although it’s understood he knew.

“The driving conditions were fine, the vehicle started to lose control and it came off the A12, falling seven metres below onto the B1024.

“Mr Jackson was arrested and taken to Chelmsford police station where he admitted to taking heroin, methadone and crack cocaine,”

The court accepted his former girlfriend had been drinking and grabbed the wheel from Jackson as he drove, having just woken up.

Sasha Bailey, mitigating, said: “He is reducing his methadone intake and has been drug free since that time. He has used his time in custody wisely and is a mentor within the prison.”

Jackson’s victim now has no recollection of the crash and has had at least three operations on her spine and wrist.

Her victim impact statement said: “The assumption was that I would not survive.

“The aftermath is the loss of my ability to move my legs.

“I was always hugely actively, now I am trapped in my own body.”

Jackson was sentenced to 38 months for serious injury by dangerous driving and 14 months for aggravated vehicle taken, to run concurrently.

Simon Mayo QC, sentencing, said: “Her life was hanging in the balance. She suffered extensive and life changing injuries and was rendered a paraplegic.

“Your driving created a substantial risk of danger because you were under the influence.”

Detective Sergeant Adam High from our Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Jackson was driving a stolen Mitsubishi Shogun dangerously when he lost control and left the carriageway to the nearside, causing serious life changing injuries – including skull fractures – to a passenger within the vehicle.

“This was a terrible collision with serious consequences for a woman and her family, and I hope that it brings some semblance of closure and comfort to the injured party.  

“His reckless actions have caused physical and emotional trauma to the victim, and we work every day to ensure such incidents like this happen as infrequently as possible on our roads. 

“Where they do happen, we work tirelessly to ensure that offenders see their day in court.”