A children’s Sea Cadets marching band have vowed not to play at this year’s Christmas lights parade after members were run over by a joyrider last year.

Louis Browning, 21, was drunk and high on drugs when he ploughed into Sea Cadets band TS Endeavour at a Christmas lights ceremony in New Addington last November.

He had just been released from a four-month prison sentence when he drove into the crowd in a stolen car, knocking over band members 13-year-old Bradley Humphrey and Taylor Jenner, who was nine when the accident happened.

He also ran into a police officer, PC Keith Gray, who bravely attempted to stop the car by smashing in the windscreen with his baton.

PC Gray’s spine was crushed in the accident and he was not able to work. He has been nominated for a Croydon Champions award for his courage.

Mark Hughes from the Sea Cadets said the children in the band are still traumatised by the experience and the knowledge that mere months into his sentence, Browning escaped from prison.

He said: “We are not going to do it because of what happened last year, all of the same kids are in the band.

"We would not want to expose them to that again, bearing in mind the guy that did it escaped prison.

“It is sad because we have done the New Addington lights for a number of years.”

Despite receiving a sentence of just 20 months in prison, the prolific offender, who has had 30 prior convictions from 33 offences, absconded from prison on July 16.

He enjoyed almost two months of freedom before he was found and arrested on September 8.

He appeared at Croydon Crown Court on September 18 to be sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence.

He was given a further sentence of just seven days to be served concurrently.

Mick Watts, who organised the ceremony, said: “It won’t be the same without the band leading the procession.”

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