A DRIVER who reached speeds of up to 72mph while cutting across a roundabout - injuring three people in a six-car pile-up - has been jailed.

Matthew Withers, of Wheatley Place, Blackwood, pleaded guilty to a charge dangerous driving following the incident at an earlier hearing.

The actions of the 25-year-old, who had been “weaving in and out” of traffic on the A4049 from Blackwood saw an 87-year-old woman hospitalised for two weeks, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Stephen Donoghue said that the defendant, jailed for a year, found himself in the right-hand lane as he came to a roundabout where he wanted to turn left.

“[Withers] didn’t stop at the roundabout and he flew straight on and cut across traffic to get across to the left hand exit,” he said.

“This road had a 30mph speed limit but police experts say he must have been travelling within 10 per cent of 72mph as he took the bend.”

Withers first struck a car being driven by James Harvey.

Mr Donoghue said: “As they collided the defendant’s car went back and hit the car of Margaret Smith, which was hit so hard that it flew back and hit three stationary parked cars causing damage to them.”

As a result of the crash Mrs Smith suffered a broken toe and a suspected broken sternum – although it was later proved to just be badly swollen.

Her daughter Sian Jones, who was a passenger at the time, sustained soft tissue damage and now suffers from panic attacks and flashbacks, it was also said.

Mr Donoghue added that Mrs Smith had been returning from visiting her brother, Raymond, who suffered from severe learning disabilities.

“Sadly while she was hospitalised Raymond passed away and this devastated her as she looked after him,” he said.

“It has scarred her life and she feels that she has let him down in a way as she never saw him again.”

Hash Salmaan, defending, had asked for a suspended sentence for his client, who is an expectant father and has no previous convictions.

He added: “For a considerable period of time he has worked hard for the last five years in the family business as a taxi driver. He will lose his licence and his livelihood, and he is anxious as to how he will support his new family.”

But Judge William Gaskell said that the seriousness of Withers’ actions was “overwhelmingly obvious to anyone and even yourself until the day of the trial”.

He added: “For young men like you who choose to drive at grossly excessive speeds with no disregard to other drivers, there can only be one conclusion – and that is immediate imprisonment.”

Alongside his 12-month sentence, Withers was also disqualified from driving for two years.