The Daily Telegraph

Driver is spared jail after hitting harasser

- By Daily Telegraph Reporter

A MAN who drove into a 16-year-old who had been harassing him was spared jail after a judge questioned why police had not taken the complaint seriously.

Michael Ashton had told police about the teenager’s behaviour towards him, but when no action was taken he hit the youth with his car, knocking him off his scooter, Gloucester Crown Court was told. The boy suffered bruising, a fractured foot and whiplash.

Judge Rupert Lowe said he was “surprised” the police and Crown Prosecutio­n Service had not investigat­ed Ashton’s complaints about the anti-social behaviour. He assumed in the absence of any other evidence that Ashton was telling the truth about the boy and sentenced him accordingl­y.

Ashton claimed the boy had targeted him because he had caught the youth and other teenagers trying to break into a house. Since that incident, the teenager had allegedly been to his house several times and banged at the door, the court was told.

Ashton pleaded guilty to driving dangerousl­y in Cheltenham on Oct 11 2021.

He was given a 12-month suspended jail term and banned from driving for a year. He will have to pass an extended test before he can regain his licence.

The judge said he did not think it was appropriat­e to order him to pay any compensati­on to the teenager, whose father had arrived shortly after the incident and smashed the passenger windows of Ashton’s Audi with a golf club.

Lucy Taylor, prosecutin­g, told the court that on Oct 11 that the teenager had allegedly kicked Ashton’s front door following a period of sustained abuse. Ashton went out searching in vain for the 16-year-old, she said.

Ashton found the teenager riding his scooter and ran into the back of him, said Ms Taylor. The teenager partially fell underneath Ashton’s Audi. Ashton got out of the car and was heard to say: “That’s for vandalisin­g my house.”

The teenager was later taken to hospital for his injuries.

The court was told that while the police were interviewi­ng Ashton and conducting a breath test – which was negative – the youth’s father arrived and smashed the passenger windows.

Judge Lowe said: “I am surprised that the CPS or the police have not looked into the background surroundin­g this case. This, I believe, would be proper mitigation and maybe highlight other anti-social behaviour in this area.

“It is quite irresponsi­ble of the CPS not to have investigat­ed this further, considerin­g the time it has taken to come to court.”

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