A DRUNKEN car thief has been jailed for twice running over an owner who tried to stop him driving off in her vehicle.

Learner driver Dean Lane left victim Joanne Romain with a shattered leg and wrist and she thought she was going to die as she saw the wheels heading straight towards her head.

He reversed over Ms Romain as she stood behind her car demanding that he return the keys which he had taken from her. He knocked her down and then drove forward and crushed her for a second time.

He had been binge drinking and told police he could not remember what he had done. His breath test reading was 68 microgrammes, just under twice the legal limit of 35.

Ms Romain wrote a victim impact statement in which she said: “I feel like a shadow of the person I was. I was motivated and positive about the future before it happened but now I am distressed mentally and emotionally and not okay.

“I am shocked and constantly traumatised by having been run over. I asked for the keys back and the reversing lights came on and the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor.

“I realised he was going to drive over me again and feared for my life as the tyre came towards my head. I thought I was going to die. I have constant nightmares of the wheel coming towards me.”

She spent three weeks in hospital with serious injuries including to a fractured pelvis, crushed leg, cuts and grazes on her face, and a wrist which was so badly broken that it will need surgery to repair it.

Lane, aged 37, of Gregory Close, Tiverton, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving, taking a vehicle without consent and obstructing police.

He was jailed for two years and two months and banned from driving for six years with an extended retest by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

The judge told him: “You drove over her and caused serious long lasting injuries. At least it is fortunate that she survived. The awful and callous nature of the offence may justify a higher sentence.”

Mr Rowan Jenkins, prosecuting, said Ms Romain realised Lane had her car keys and went to his home to ask for them back. He brushed past her and walked a short distance to the car which he then started.

She stood behind it while continuing to ask for the keys but he reversed over her before driving forwards again and running her over for a second time, leaving her with serious injuries.

Miss Rachel Smith, defending, said Lane had no memory of what he had done and was horrified when shown CCTV footage by the police.

She said: “He had no ill will towards her. He does not know why he did it or whether in drink he did not see her. All he can do it reiterate his remorse.”