A DANGEROUS driver left his pregnant girlfriend with life-changing injuries after crashing into a tree when he lost control of his car on a country road.

But Samuel Nicholas escaped an immediate prison sentence after a judge heard he is now her full-time carer and how they have a seven-week-old baby boy to look after.

The 25-year-old defendant left his partner Hannah Gollop with multiple skull fractures and serious injuries to her vertebrae and leg.

She now struggles to walk unaided and has been unable to work since the collision, having to give up her job.

Miss Gollop is likely to need further surgery for a knee replacement.

Nicholas crashed his Volvo C30 on Itton Road in Chepstow last November after he had just been spotted driving at 80mph in a 30mph zone.

Newport Crown Court heard how the defendant, of Station Road, Rogiet, near Caldicot, was being chased by an unmarked police BMW although the officer had not put on his vehicle’s blue flashing light.

Nicholas was therefore unaware he was being pursued by the police.

Prosecutor Rebecca Griffiths said the officer decided to stand down because the defendant was driving too fast and dangerously.

But he was at the scene just seconds after Nicholas crashed into the tree on the B4293 and he went to his and Miss Gollop’s aid.

The officer used his car’s fire extinguisher to douse the Volvo because he feared the engine was about to burst into flames.

He contacted the ambulance and fire services and comforted the couple as they waited for further help to arrive.

The prosecutor said: “When the officer first arrived, the defendant and his passenger were unconscious and she had a large cut on her forehead.”

When they both came to, Miss Griffiths added: “The officer held the passenger’s hand and she told him she wanted to go home. She said she couldn’t feel her legs and that she felt faint.

“The fire service had to remove the roof and the defendant was saying he was sorry and he was asking if Miss Gollop was all right.”

The couple were taken to Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales for treatment.

When he was later interviewed by detectives, the prosecutor said Nicholas told them in the past “cars had tried to run him off the road and he thought he was being followed by such people again”.

He pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Miss Griffiths read out Miss Gollop’s victim impact statement in which she said: “I struggle to walk unaided and at present I can’t stand for long even when assisted.

“I struggle to climb the stairs. I was waitressing in the Tintern area. Since the collision, I am unable to work.”

The victim told the court how her relationship with her mother has suffered and how she now lives with Nicholas, their recently born son and the defendant’s mum.

Miss Gollop said she relies on her partner to help her care for their baby boy and added: “If Sam was not here, I would have no one else to rely on.”

Nicholas had nine penalty points on his licence before the crash, six points for failing to provide information as to the identity of a driver and three points for speeding.

He had one previous conviction for handling in 2013 for which he received a suspended sentence.

Karl Williams, mitigating, said: “The defendant’s deep remorse is genuine. It is something that’s on his conscience and will forever be so.

“He is the victim’s full-time carer and he undertakes most of the household tasks and holds his son and washes him.

“He is the cornerstone of their family life.”

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said she could suspend Nicholas’ jail sentence because if she sent him into custody she would cause the victim “further suffering”.

The defendant was jailed for two years, suspended for two years.

He must complete a 28-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was banned from driving for four years.