Man’s suicide bid crash risked the lives of three youngsters
Driver accelerated towards oncoming traffic on the A444
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.”