A pregnant woman lost her unborn baby when two cars crashed and one of them smashed into her as she walked home from breakfast with her sister.
Sofia Xavier, 22, a music publisher, of Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, was knocked over the wall outside a block of flats on the corner of Benfield Way.
Miss Xavier was five months pregnant. The impact of the crash shattered her pelvis and killed her unborn daughter.
She said: “Everything was taken from me in seconds.”
And told how she had “lost everything” in those few seconds in a victim impact statement about the crash last November given to Judge Christine Henson at Hove Crown Court.
Miss Xavier said: “Everything I do at the moment every day is because of my injuries and this incident – and it just reminds me constantly that my daughter has been taken from me … it’s too painful.
“The hardest part for me is there was nothing I could have done to change that day.
“It’s changed everything.
“I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember going to the hospital and the lady doing a scan on my stomach and not finding a heartbeat.
“I just lay there praying for my baby, praying that if one of us had to be taken it would be me – and my baby would be ok.
“Then the second lady came in and still found no heartbeat and I just went numb and I have stayed that way.
“I am too scared to feel because, when I allow myself to, it hurts too much and I can’t cope.
“I am the only person that had nothing to do with the crash, that had no responsibility, and I am the only one that will suffer from it every day for the rest of my life.
“I have cried every day since the accident because I can’t cope. It hurts so much all the time.
“Then on top of that I have the physical pain and reminders. I was only able to walk and move around without my crutches on (Thursday) 2 March.
“Even that hasn’t made it better. I can only walk short distances before I am exhausted.
“I can’t do housework as it hurts. Even standing to cook is impossible with my pain. Simple chores like making a bed and keeping myself tidy are so difficult as I am in pain and cannot bend.
“I get so angry and frustrated and the worst part is I can’t escape it.
“I can’t go out as I am not mobile enough. I can’t walk downstairs without losing my balance. I can’t escape the physical pain and emotionally I hurt all the time.
“My life was set up around the arrival of my daughter and it was all taken from me in seconds.
“I played no part in this incident yet I am the only person involved that will have to live with this for the rest of my life.
“None of this is fair and I just don’t know how to deal with it.
“When I had my operation they had to cut me open as I had a broken pelvis so I have scars all over my stomach and hips and all the way down my left leg.
“I will have to see those every day for the rest of my life.
“I had a metal plate put in my pelvis and for three months I wasn’t allowed to really move at all.
“I have had and am still having physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to teach me how to walk again and ensure I am getting the correct movement and strengthening my leg and hip again.
“I can now just about walk again without crutches but that’s only been since the beginning of March.
“The doctors have told me I will not have full movement and mobility for 18 months to two years as a result of my injuries.
“I don’t want to be in pain. I don’t want to cry and hurt emotionally and I don’t want keep talking about it and dealing with it every day. I just want it to be over.
“Financially it has been a rollercoaster. I was looking after my 17-year-old sister. I paid all the household bills and have always worked hard to provide for myself and never rely on anyone else.
“Particularly just before the accident I had been working all the hours I could as I wanted my daughter to be comfortable and not want for anything.
“Then this happened and I couldn’t work.
“My mum got herself into debt and sold her gold just to be with me for one week.
“Everything just feels like a fight and it’s exhausting.
“It’s stupid things like I need more than physiotherapy once a week but it’s taking ages to get it authorised.
“It’s in their interest as the sooner I am better I will get off their case.
“I hate having to rely on others but I have no choice.
“I just want to get better so I can provide for myself again and not have to fight to get things I need for my health and daily survival.
“I was in hospital about 20 days in total. I was unable to get out of bed to even use the toilet for 12 days afterwards.
“I just wanted to be in my home alone to start processing everything that had happened to me just because I decided to go out to breakfast that day.
“Sometimes even now I don’t think I can contemplate what’s happened.
“I never believed anything like this could happen to me or anyone I know.
“It’s so horrific, it’s like watching it in a movie because how could anything like this really happen.
“I don’t even know where to start discussing how this has affected me emotionally. I don’t know if I am depressed but all I want to do is get better.
“I cry all the time. I don’t want to cry any more but it just won’t be over for me to start finding my new normal.
“I want to have a family one day but I don’t want to replace my daughter I lost so until I can find a way to live with what’s happened to me this is not an option.
“Having to deal with my injuries, the police, the court cases are constant reminders and won’t allow me to move forward and start living my life again.
“I just don’t know how to deal with it. I get angry over everything.
“Everything was taken from me in seconds.
“We moved to where we live to have more room for the baby. We had been looking at schools.
“All the baby things are still in cupboards and I don’t know what to do with it all.
“My daughter was due on (Thursday) 16 March. She should be here.
“It’s not fair and it all seems so empty. I know people go through lots. When I was in hospital I saw people without legs and cut right open and they managed to smile.
“I can’t do that. I don’t know how to do that because I have lost everything.”
Judge Henson jailed one of the drivers, Matthew Griffin, for two and a half years and banned him from driving for four years.
Griffin, 32, a bricklayer, pleaded guilty to causing Miss Xavier serious injury by dangerous driving.
He was speeding along Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, towards Hove, at about 60mph in a Subaru Impreza when he crashed into a Land Rover Discovery.
The Land Rover had been coming the other way and was turning right into Benfield Way by the Benfield Court flats at just after 11.30am on Friday 4 November last year.
As a result of the impact, the Land Rover hit Miss Xavier and sent her flying over the boundary wall outside the flats.
Griffin, a father of one, of Albion Street, Southwick, tested positive for cannabis although he was below the legal limit. During the progress of the case, his address was also given as Laylands Court, Gordon Road, Fishersgate.
The Crown Prosecution Service also spelt out the impact of the crash on Miss Xavier for the judge.
The CPS said: “She was thrown over a brick wall outside Benfield Court and as a result of the impact she suffered very serious injuries.
“Five months’ pregnant at the time, she lost her baby in the most horrific circumstances.
“The baby was killed by the impact and she had to deliver the baby knowing that she was already dead.
“She suffered a shattered pelvis and head injury, bruising and a large gash to her left leg below the knee, requiring 30 stitches.”
At an earlier hearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court the Land Rover driver was also banned from driving. He also had cannabis in his system.
Lamos Mataiapo Kea, 50, of Fairway Crescent, Portslade, pleaded guilty to driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, driving without due care and attention and driving without a licence.
He was given a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.
He was also fined £200, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and costs of £85, making £400 in total.
In her victim impact statement Miss Xavier said: “Nothing the drivers get for this will be enough for everything they have taken from me.”