A MERCHANT seaman was jailed for twelve months after his van collided head-on with a 4x4 as he overtook cars, seriously injuring a woman of 51.

James McNamee, 39, of Maes Cyttir, Holyhead, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving in a Vauxhall Combo van in London Road at the town and failing to provide a breath test on February 1.

Judge Huw Rees at Caernarfon crown court said Sylvia Jones had no time to react before the collision occurred. It set off her airbag and forced her Nissan vehicle backwards.

She had been taken to hospital and had two broken vertebrate. Eyewitnesses said the van was going at a “hell of a speed” and lifted the Nissan in the air.

Judge Rees said dashcam footage showed Mrs Jones was driving at a good standard. McNamee was overtaking a row of cars which were passing parked vehicles.

Although he refused repeated requests to give a sample, there was no evidence McNamee had been drinking, the judge said. In 2009 he had a drink-driving conviction.

“This case remains something of a mystery,” Judge Rees said.

He said the victim relived her experience and her bruising took a long time to heal. She also paid for physiotherapy.

McNamee had been in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and a navy reservist. But the judge said :”This was a wholly unnecessary piece of dangerous driving in broad daylight. This was a case of excessive speeding in inappropriate conditions for no reason at all.”

A three-year driving ban with an extended test was imposed.

Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said the van had hit another vehicle, causing whiplash injuries to two occupants.

Dafydd Roberts, defending, said McNamee had been in employment since he left school at 16. He worked for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. There was no evidence of drink-driving, counsel added.