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Home Dartford News Article
A teenage fuel thief who used his car "as a weapon" is facing a long prison sentence - after today being convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Joshua Charnley, 19 drove his vehicle into the retail manager of a West Kingsdown service station and "scooping him up onto the bonnet".
Victim Lekshmanan Asokkumar, from Lamberhurst, suffered serious head injuries as he clung onto the bonnet of the car while Charnley swerved to force him off.
Charnley, of no fixed address, had admitted causing serious injury by driving dangerously -but had denied the more serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The jury at Canterbury Crown Court took nearly nine hours before convicting him of the charge, which carries a maximum life sentence.
Prosecutor Martin Yale told how Charnley had used his car as a weapon as he made off from the petrol station without paying for petrol.
"He then drove his car into Mr Asokkumar, scooping him up onto the bonnet and travelling nearly half a mile with the retail manager clinging on," he said.
He said the incident happened on July 31 last year, when Mr Asokkumar and Kim Waterman were working at the Texaco service station in London Road.
The teenager had plotted to steal the petrol as he had no money to pay, the court heard.
He had also altered the number plates of his car with black tape in order to disguise the vehicle's identity.
"Mr Asokummar stood in front of the car and put his hands up," said the prosecutor.
"Charnley revved the engine and lurched the car forward on more than one occasion in an attempt to intimidate Mr Asokkumar."
A furious Charnley began shouting at Mr Asokkumar - but the manager stood his ground to prevent them from leaving.
Mr Yale added: "Charnley then drove off quickly, revving hard and spinning the wheels directly at Mr Asokkumar.
"The car hit him, lifting onto the bonnet and Charnley then continued down the road at 30mph with Mr Asokkumar clinging to the car.
"As the car continued up the road, one eye witness described Charnley punching Mr Asokkumar's hands through the open window, while the car swerved from side to side."
Charnley claimed he just panicked and drove away not intending to drive at Mr Asokkumar.
DCI Jon Clayden, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Charnley drove to the petrol station in order to commit a pre-meditated theft.
"However, events took an extremely serious turn and a man was left with multiple fractures of the skull.
"Charnley had no driving licence and no insurance and having flung the driver from the bonnet he made no attempt to stop, or call the emergency services.
"Instead, he went about altering the registration plate and selling the car."
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday.
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