Hunton man jailed after deliberately driving into woman walking ponies with children

Jack Brown. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

A motorist who deliberately drove into a woman who was walking ponies with children has been jailed for more than two-and-a-half years.

Jack Brown, 27, from Hunton, aimed his Ford Ranger at the woman, a senior army officer, who was knocked to the ground and suffered a broken back, Teesside Crown Court heard today.

Prosecutor Shaun Dryden said the woman was walking at the side of Leyburn Road in Hunton with a female friend and three ponies with a child rider.

“The group was walking in single file along the road, keeping to the left-hand side,” said Mr Dryden.

The victim, who was at the back of the group, suddenly heard a vehicle “roaring” through the village.

“She looked behind her and saw Brown approaching them at speed,” added Mr Dryden.

The victim, who is in her 50s, turned around on the edge of the road, waving her arms to get Brown to slow down so as not to spook the horses, but to no avail.

“The defendant waved his hand at her in what is described as a dismissive way,” said Mr Dryden.

“(The woman) realised he wasn’t going to slow down.”

She took a step back from the edge of the road but as she did so, Brown deliberately turned his steering wheel towards her, the court heard.

She put her hands up to protect herself, but the car drove into her, causing her to be thrown backwards and knocked to the ground.

Brown then drove off as the woman was helped to her feet by her friend. Even though she was in “considerable pain”, she tried not to show this to the children.

Police were called and the injured woman received treatment at a medical centre where X-rays showed she had broken a bone in her back.

No surgery was required but she had to remain in a static position for four months following the incident on January 15 last year.

Brown, of Leyburn Road, was arrested and charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving but initially denied the allegation, claiming that the pedestrian had thrown herself into the path of his vehicle.

He was due to face trial but ultimately changed his plea to guilty in December.

He was due to be sentenced at Teesside Crown in February but didn’t turn up and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He finally appeared for sentence today when a victim statement from the victim was read out in court.

The senior staff officer with the Light Brigade Combat Team at Catterick Garrison said she had been affected “physically and emotionally” by Brown’s “callous” actions which had “destroyed her spirit”.

Her family, including her eight-year-old daughter who was on the pony ride, had also been affected as the woman’s mobility restrictions meant she couldn’t work or participate in everyday family life for several months.

There was a fear at one stage that her injuries may lead to paralysis and her anxiety levels were “like nothing she had ever experienced”.

Due to long NHS waiting lists, she had to seek private therapy and physio sessions at her own expense, and she was still on medication to manage the ongoing pain.

The victim had held a command position during military operations in North Africa and the Middle East, but her army career was put on hold following the incident in Hunton.

Brown also fell to be sentenced for careless driving and breaching a restraining order in connection with a separate incident when he was out on bail for the hit-and-run incident.

He initially denied those offences too but pleaded guilty on the day of trial at York Magistrates’ Court in January.

The victim of those offences was his ex-partner, a student whom he had subjected to violence in the past.

In June last year, Brown was found guilty of harassing the named Catterick woman and given a five-year restraining order banning him from approaching and contacting her and going to her student digs in York.

But later that same day, he passed her in his car, beeped his horn and stuck two fingers up at her.

The victim was picked up by a male friend in his car who was driving her away to safety when Brown’s vehicle, which was driven “at speed”, appeared behind them.

The victim’s friend pulled over to let him pass, but Brown deliberately cut in front of them and slammed on his brakes. Only sharp braking by the victim’s friend averted a collision.

When Brown was arrested for those offences, he lied to police that it was the victim who had made rude gestures towards him.

The victim in that case said she was in “real fear” of Brown and no longer walked her dog in the village in case he followed her.

Brown had previous convictions for 14 offences dating back nearly 10 years and including aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, public disorder, battery, criminal damage and being concerned in cannabis production.

His solicitor advocate Michele Turner said he had mental-health issues stemming from a serious road crash when he was 17 years’ old which resulted in a brain injury.

He had since been diagnosed with brain trauma and had received intervention by adult social services.

She said that Brown had received “substantial” compensation for the injury he suffered in that accident and that the money was held in trust by a firm of solicitors.

Recorder Anthony Kelbrick condemned Brown for his “callous” act which had led to “catastrophic, disastrous” consequences for Ms Millar.

He said Brown had deliberately driven at her when she and her group were walking safely at the side of the road and “presenting no problems for motorists”.

He said the wicked act had had a “life-changing” impact on Ms Millar and her family which had been highlighted in her “harrowing” victim statement.

“(Her) suffering will continue for the rest of her life,” added Mr Kelbrick.

He said that “nowhere in the (medical) reports” did it suggest that Brown’s terrible actions had anything to do with his brain injury.

He told Brown: “What you did was a choice – your choice – and you must bear the consequences of it.”

Brown was jailed for two years and eight months and banned from driving for 10 years.

The investigating officer, PC Mike McVay, from the Richmondshire and Hambleton Response Team, said: “Only responsible and safe drivers should have a driving licence. This is a privilege that has rightly been taken away from Jack Brown for a considerable time, as well as his liberty while he serves his prison sentence.

“His aggressive and dangerous driving caused serious injury to the victim. He also could so easily have placed the three children, the ponies and the other person who was with the group at great risk of injury or worse.

“I hope he and other drivers learn from this incident and the outcome at court. Dangerous driving will not be tolerated on our roads.”

2 Comments

  1. 2 1/2 years seems light. Out in half that. Anyone here feel ok with sharing the roads with this man?

    Lifetime bans don’t exist. Perhaps they should, with heavy sentences for breach.

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