Jealous student ran over girlfriend after accusing her of cheating

Lakshmam Samarakoon ran his girlfriend over at a party because he thought she was cheating on him (swns)
Lakshmam Samarakoon ran his girlfriend over at a party because he thought she was cheating on him. (SWNS)

A jealous student left his girlfriend with life-changing injuries when he ran her over at a party after accusing her of cheating on him.

Lakshmam Samarakoon was jailed for 11 years and eight months on Friday for one count of grievous bodily harm with intent.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard the 20-year-old flew into a rage and drove his parents' car into Dina Sapra at a party in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, in July last year.

Sapra, who was 18 at the time, was left with multiple broken bones in her left leg and injured so severely doctors considered amputating the limb.

She had been an avid swimmer, netballer and tennis player and achieved four A*s in her A-levels, but had to put her academic life on hold following the incident, and will not be able to play sport competitively again.

The court heard that Samarakoon tracked his girlfriend’s movements on Snapchat and checked her phone for messages from other men, regularly blocking male contacts.

General view of a Thames Valley Police car.   (Photo by Tim Ockenden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Samarakoon called 999 after hitting his partner in his parents' Vauxhall Astra and Thames Valley Police arrested him at the scene. (PA Images via Getty Images)

His bullying culminated in tragedy when the pair attended a mutual friends 18th birthday party.

Samarakoon, then aged 19, checked Sapra's phone and found messages from a male friend on it. He accused her of cheating and took the device, then climbed into his parents' Vauxhall Astra. Sapra followed and Samarakoon reversed the car, forcing her to jump out of the way.

As she ran onto the pavement Samarakoon turned the vehicle round and drove towards his girlfriend, knocking her to the ground.

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CCTV footage showed Samarakoon exit the car and run to Sapra as she lay in the road.

The court heard he had called 999 and confessed to the crime, asking police to arrest him for his “terrible mistake”.

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Judge Francis Sheridan sentenced Samarakoon to 11 years and eight months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of grievous bodily harm with intent.

The judge said: “This was a wicked offence driven by jealousy. This was the worst decision you have ever made in your own selfish way.

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“This was your girlfriend who you have effectively maimed for life. This was an offence driven by jealousy on a loving girl. You believed you deserved to have the ultimate say as to what she did with her own life, you had no right.

“It’s not a knife, it’s not a gun, but it is just the same damage when you deliberately drive into somebody. It just shows everybody you can destroy someone’s life chances even at slow speeds if you deliberately mow them down.”

Expert analysis showed the vehicle had been travelling at just below 17 miles per hour when Sapra was hit.

Samarakoon received an eight-year driving ban upon his release, and was handed an indefinite restraining order against his victim.

He also pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and drink driving.

He was not given a separate penalty for the drink driving charge but was handed a four-month jail term for dangerous driving, which will run concurrently with the rest of his sentence.

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Each year, two million people in the UK are affected by domestic abuse. During the coronavirus lockdown there was a sharp increase in incidents as victims were trapped at home with perpetrators.

A recent survey conducted by domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid revealed that more than two-thirds of survivors felt that domestic abuse escalated under lockdown, and 72% said that their abuser had more control over their life since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Watch: Anita Rani opens up about overcoming her experiences of self harm