A SINGER who mowed down a pedestrian in a stolen car and was arrested after her
victim spotted her on the X Factor, has narrowly avoided being sent to prison.
Paige Flaherty ploughed into Chris Brown in her bandmate’s pink Mini as he
crossed the road and, after taking him to hospital, gave a false name when
they exchanged details.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Brown, who suffered soft tissue injury to
his leg, thought the trail had “gone dead” in trying to find her until he saw
Flaherty – and the pink Mini that hit him – with her band Twisted on the
ITV talent show.
Prosecutor Barry Robson told Newcastle Crown Court: “He was watching a
television talent competition called X Factor on TV when he saw this
defendant getting out of the same mini vehicle that had knocked him over.
“This was about three weeks after he was knocked over.
“The defendant was auditioning as part of a girl band called Twisted.
“After seeing this on television, he was also able to see an on-line article
by the Sun newspaper which highlighted the girl band and featured the
“He was able to identify her from that as the person driving the vehicle
when he was knocked down.”
Flaherty, who held just a provisional driving licence, was arrested and
picked out by Mr Brown at an identity parade.
The court heard it was only after car owner Katie Orrock was informed by
her insurance firm’s claims department she realised her car had been involved
in an accident.
Enquiries revealed the accident had happened while Miss Orrock had slept
over at Flaherty’s home after a night out in August 2011 – which gave her access
to the keys.
Miss Orrock’s car had suffered £150 worth of damage when it was taken by
During police interviews in June last year, Flaherty denied involvement in
taking the vehicle.
The court heard in July last year the 19-year-old took another pal’s car
without permission and drove it from Newcastle to her Jarrow home.
Flaherty, of Fife Avenue, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle
taking,taking without the owners’ consent and two charges of driving otherwise in
accordance with a licence and no insurance.
Judge John Evans sentenced Flaherty to six months’
for 18 months, with a three-month night time curfew and a two year driving ban.
The judge told Flaherty, who has never been in trouble before: “You have
come within a whisker of going to custody.”
Jane Foley, defending, said Flaherty is mourning the death of her father,
who she helped care for, but her behaviour towards her friends remains largely
Miss Foley said: “She has had ambition to go onto the TV and perform to try
and pursue her dream of being in a band.”
Flaherty’s band ‘Twisted’ hit the headlines after the X-Factor judge Kelly
Rowland told band member Chrissie Pitt, from South Shields, to ditch the
rest of the band and continue as a solo artist.
Miss Pitt chose to leave the girl group, leaving the other members,
including Cheryl Moody, Flaherty and Miss Orrock, furious and out of the competition.
Last year, the threesome came back as ‘KISSABEAT’, covering Jessie J’s
‘Domino’ for a competition with Sky’s Starz TV.
The band won the contest, which saw the threesome record their own song
‘Just Jealousy’. But when the song was released, Flaherty’s vocals were erased
from the final version.