A DANGEROUS driver who left a man without colour vision in his right eye pleaded with a judge not to jail him – because of his new girlfriend.

Andrew Cribbes appeared at Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old had already admitting theft, dangerous driving and driving without insurance or a licence in a crime spree on March 1 this year, but on Tuesday he was asked to enter another plea for a more serious charge: causing injury by dangerous driving.

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Prosecutors said it all started when he was been seen by a neighbour stealing a water compressor worth thousands of pounds from Westbury Crescent, Rose Hill, that day.

Cribbes, who was seen driving the van towing the compressor, was then sighted by police at Heyford Hill roundabout before he sped off dangerously, at one stage over a footpath and then through oncoming traffic.

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Oxford Crown Court

Eventually he crashed into a BMW, driven by a man with his wife as the passenger and their child in the back.

That man has since developed a loss of colour vision in his eye, which could impact his work and possible promotions.

After the crash Cribbes ran away on foot but was Tasered by the police, captured and then arrested.

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He has been convicted 39 times for 81 offences in the past, including twice in 2011 for driving dangerously, seven times for having no insurance, three for drink-driving and 11 for theft.

Cribbes' own lawyer said he had an ‘incredibly unattractive’ record of convictions but that for the ‘best part of two years’ he had been working on building sites and ‘wasn’t using’ – which could be credited to him falling in love with a woman seven years his senior he met in a hostel in Reading.

When things got serious, he moved in with her in Kent and it was the ‘happiest time in his life’. But things turned sour when he fell out of a window on a site and was unable to work.

He started using drugs again and moved back to Oxford a single man where he committed this crime to fund a Class A drug habit.

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But since his arrest he has made contact with his lover again and his defence team said it might not work out if he was put in prison.

They said: “She is 52, she knows what she wants in life. He said it is the most important relationship in his life.

“He knows that if he does not clean up his act he won’t make it into his 50s.”

Sentencing, Judge Ian Pringle said that Cribbes was ‘beginning to grow up at the age of 45’ and was trying to ‘make something better of his life’, but he added “I hope the lady you have met does wait for you.

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“I would be failing in my duty if I didn’t’ sentence you to custody.”

The judge sentenced Cribbes to a total of 32 months in prison, banned him from driving for two years and ordered him to pay a victim surcharge.