A BRIERLEY Hill motorist who was driving on the wrong side of the road when he ploughed head on into a taxi injuring the driver and two passengers has been jailed for a year.

A woman passenger suffered a head wound and serious neck fracture that left her in hospital for seven weeks and unable to drive her own car for a year.

The woman's husband sustained damaged ribs while the taxi driver suffered a temporary loss of consciousness and a fractured hand.

John Brightman had been to meet a woman on a date arranged over the internet but he ran into problems and left the Walsall area "in fear of his own safety" - Simon Hanns, defending, told Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He said 33-year-old Brightman saw headlights in his rear view mirror and "perceived people were after him".

Brightman was on the wrong side of the road in the approach to a narrow canal bridge when he hit the taxi - Mr Hanns said.

He added that Brightman, who also suffered serious injuries, had little recollection of the incident having "gone to see a lady in what was an unfamiliar area" but he accepted it had clearly been bad driving.

Brightman, of Bodmin Court, admitted driving dangerously and was told by Judge Peter Barrie there were signs at the scene of the accident in Bloxwich Road, Walsall, that made it clear motorists should take care.

He said: "There is no reason why you should have driven along the wrong part of the road. A significant aggravating feature of this case is your driving history."

Brightman, the court heard, had two previous convictions for driving dangerously, another for getting behind the wheel of a car when he was over the drink drive limit and one for driving while disqualified.

The judge said: "I accept you did not intend to get involved in a collision or for anyone to get hurt. But the manner in which you drove was extremely dangerous."

Nicholas Tatlow, prosecuting, said it was impossible for the taxi driver to have taken action to avoid the collision which left both vehicles with extensive damage.

The Judge further disqualified Brightman from driving for two years and ruled he would have to take an extensive driving test before he would be allowed back onto the roads.