Man’s sui­cide bid crash risked the lives of three young­sters

Driver ac­cel­er­ated to­wards on­com­ing traf­fic on the A444

Hinckley Times - - FRONT PAGE - SUZY GIB­SON hinck­ley­[email protected]­

A SUI­CI­DAL man crashed into an on­com­ing car in an at­tempt to kill him­self – not re­al­is­ing three young­sters were in the ve­hi­cle he struck.

Stephen Wil­son had ear­lier taken an over­dose, slashed his wrists and un­suc­cess­fully tried to drown in a stream.

At the wheel of his car, he moved out of a line of traf­fic on the A444 near Sib­son and ac­cel­er­ated to­wards an on­com­ing As­tra.

The As­tra driver, Bev­er­ley Ewen, a child min­der, had three young­sters asleep in the back and a fe­male friend in the front pas­sen­ger seat.

She man­aged to avoid a head-on crash as the two ve­hi­cles scraped past each other.

Steven Tay­lor, pros­e­cut­ing, told Le­ices­ter Crown Court that “mer­ci­fully” all the oc­cu­pants of the As­tra es­caped in­jury. But he said: “The de­fen­dant risked the lives of other peo­ple in an at­tempt to kill him­self.”

Wil­son (36), a mar­ried fa­ther of four, ad­mit­ted dan­ger­ously driv­ing a Peu­geot on the A444, on the af­ter­noon of Fri­day, March 9.

Judge Philip Head said: “This is in many ways, for ev­ery­one in­volved, a very sad case. I ac­cept you’re some­one who had very real men­tal health prob­lems and that by March 9 you were des­per­ate and took sev­eral dif­fer­ent and un­suc­cess­ful steps to end your life.

“Your last try at this was to set up a high-speed, as you hoped, head-on col­li­sion with an­other car. You now ap­pre­ci­ate what a des­per­ately wrong thing that was. It wasn’t just your­self that was to be harmed but any num­ber of ut­terly in­no­cent peo­ple who would be the means of what you wanted to achieve.

“There were two adults and three chil­dren in the on­com­ing car. You pulled out and were de­ter­mined to hit it head-on.

“From what you said at the scene, it’s clear what you were try­ing to do and had you suc­ceeded it would have been a ter­ri­ble, ter­ri­ble tragedy for any num­ber of oth­ers.

“It’s an ex­pla­na­tion but not an ex­cuse for hav­ing driven in the way you did.

“I’m told your con­di­tion has sta­bilised and a dif­fer­ent form of med­i­ca­tion has made a com­plete change in your con­di­tion. You are back work­ing and have stable do­mes­tic cir- cum­stances.

“It’s vi­tally im­por­tant you con­tinue to com­ply vol­un­tar­ily with the (med­i­cal) regime that’s in place.”

Wil­son, of Sher­bourne Av­enue, Nuneaton, was given an eight­month jail sen­tence, sus­pended for two years, with 210 hours of un­paid work. He was banned from driv­ing for 12 months and will have to take an ex­tended retest to re­store his li­cence.

Wil­son was also or­dered to pay £250 com­pen­sa­tion to cover the As­tra driver’s in­surance ex­cess and £200 court costs.

Mr Tay­lor said the As­tra driver, Ms Ewen, was trav­el­ling from Sib­son to­wards New­bold Ver­don when the col­li­sion hap­pened at 2.30pm.

In a state­ment she de­scribed see­ing the de­fen­dant’s car ac­cel­er­at­ing to­wards her and she swerved to avoid him as the wings of their cars col­lided.

Wil­son’s Peu­geot ended up em­bed­ded in a hedge, hav­ing ripped out a road sign and its con­crete base.

Mr Tay­lor said two four-year-old chil­dren and a two-year-old were asleep in the As­tra un­til hear­ing Ms Ewen cry­ing out loud, be­fore the two cars brushed against each other.

Ms Ewen said in her state­ment she was “ob­vi­ously shocked”.

Mr Tay­lor said: “She feels ex­tremely lucky... but when she be­came aware of the de­fen­dant’s in­ten­tion to kill him­self she also felt an­gry and be­gan shak­ing.”

When a pass­ing mo­torist stopped to help, Wil­son told him at the scene: “I just want to die.”

He men­tioned per­sonal prob­lems and showed the helper his cut wrists be­fore hand­ing over a knife and the re­main­der of the pre­scrip­tion tablets he had taken.

When told there were three chil­dren in the car he had col­lided with he im­me­di­ately asked after their well­be­ing and was told they were okay.

The court heard he had been des­per­ately seek­ing pro­fes­sional help, with­out suc­cess, in the days lead­ing up to the col­li­sion.

Alexan­der Bar­bour, mit­i­gat­ing, said that ear­lier pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion from his GP seemed to worsen the de­fen­dant’s de­pres­sion, be­fore his failed sui­cide at­tempt, but the med­i­ca­tion he was now on had “changed his life” for the bet­ter.

He said: “Since the in­ci­dent and new pre­scribed drug treat­ment he feels like a new man and has be­come his nor­mal self.”

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