A WOMAN is accused of “protecting” a hit and run driver who left a 10-year-old boy in a coma.

Hannah Nicholson is said to have misled police officers investigating a hit and run collision in Saltney which left Alfie Watts fighting for his life.

Keegan Doyle was jailed for three years and eight months in March of this year for mowing down the schoolboy in Nicholson’s silver Ford Fiesta which he was driving at speed in a residential area.

Doyle was the getaway driver waiting for two accomplices who had raided a shop in Saltney on the day of the collision on January 6 this year.

After finding the abandoned Fiesta in a nearby field police officers went around to Nicholson’s Saltney home as she was its registered owner and keeper. But they claimed she was far from frank with them and went out of her way to distance herself from Doyle.

Nicholson told police that her car had been taken without her consent, but did not name Doyle as a suspect.

But a neighbour spotted a man she thought was Nicholson’s boyfriend on the driveway of the defendant’s home hours before the youngster was hit by the Ford Fiesta.

Prosecuting barrister Myles Wilson told Mold Crown Court: “She (Nicholson) was trying to protect Keegan Doyle and in fact hamper the police investigation in what was a pretty serious case where a young boy had been badly injured.

“She would have known full well or suspected that it was her boyfriend that had been driving her car.”

The barrister said Doyle had stayed over at Nicholson’s house the night before.

After hitting young Alfie he drove off and attempted to set fire to the Fiesta. Police managed to recover the vehicle and went around to Nicholson’s home where she claimed she had not seen the car since 11am that morning.

“She told police that she didn’t have a boyfriend and lived in the house with her eight-year-old son. She said she had no idea who could have taken the car,” said Mr Wilson.

“But she was lying, she must have suspected it was her boyfriend who had been driving.”

After she was arrested Nicholson told police she often left the £400 vehicle unlocked on her driveway and kept its keys in a wooden box in her hallway which she said friends knew about.

She said that Doyle would quite often stay over at her home and they would share a bed together, but she did not consider him to be her boyfriend.

Doyle, she said, left her house by the time she woke up at 10.30 that morning and she only realised that her car was missing at tea-time.

Nicholson was initially arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.

PC Andrew Collis said he became suspicious because she was “vague and irate”. He claimed she was obstructive and said she had not seen Doyle that day.

“She wanted me out of the house and she didn’t like what I was asking her,” said the officer.

Neighbour Laura Hill told the court she was in her front room when she spotted a man whom she presumed was Nicholson’s boyfriend park up on her driveway in the Ford Fiesta at 1pm on the day.

She said she had seen him driving her car on a regular basis over a period of months.

Nicholson, 28, of Henry Wood Court, Saltney denies doing acts to pervert the course of justice on January 6 this year.

She told the court she told Doyle not to take her car and thought he would respect her wishes as he was a friend.

She denied trying to protect Doyle or “putting the police on the wrong track”.

Asked by the prosecutor why she had not mentioned to police that Doyle may have taken her car, Nicholson replied: “I did, I said it was a possibility.”

And she added: “I was worried about getting the blame for something that was absolutely disgusting. I would never have done what he had done.”

Alfie Watts suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, and spent a week in an induced coma at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. He is now on the road to recovery back at home in Saltney and has been able to make a return to school.

The case continues

*Doyle, 23, of Warren Drive, Broughton admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and arson.