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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Fuel thief Joshua Charnley facing jail after dragging petrol station manager Lekshmanan Asokkumar on bonnet at Texaco in West Kingsdown

28 January 2014
by Paul Hooper

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.

CCTV shows Lekshmanan Asokkumar on the car bonnet

CCTV shows Lekshmanan Asokkumar on the car bonnet

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.

Victim Lekshmanan Asokkumar with wife Judie outside the Texaco garage

Victim Lekshmanan Asokkumar with wife Judie outside the Texaco garage

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.

Scroll down for video of the attack

Driver Joshua Charnley is facing sentence

Driver Joshua Charnley has been jailed for 11 years

"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. 

Video: CCTV footage of the moment Charnley struck at Texaco

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."

Forensics officers at the spot where Lekshmanan Asokkumar came off the fleeing car

Forensics officers at the spot where Lekshmanan Asokkumar came off the fleeing car

Forensic officers close to the Texaco petrol station in West Kingsdown

Forensic officers close to the Texaco petrol station in West Kingsdown

A police cordon at the scene of the hit-and-run in West Kingsdown

A police cordon at the scene of the hit-and-run in West Kingsdown


The car turned at speed into Hever Avenue and Mr Asokkumar was thrown clear - suffering serious head injuries and he was flown to hospital.

The prosecutor said the manager was later treated for a fractured skull and liver damage and some of his injuries are likely to be permanent.

Video: Police at the Texaco garage in West Kingsdown

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."

A police cordon around the Texaco garage in West Kingsdown

A police cordon around the Texaco garage in West Kingsdown

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday.


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