Teen driver Joshua Charnley 'scooped up' Texaco retail manager Lekshmanan Asokkumar after failing to pay at West Kingsdown petrol station
A teenager used his car “as a weapon” after driving away from a West Kingsdown service station without paying for fuel, it has been alleged.
Joshua Charnley, 19, aimed his vehicle at the station’s retail manager “scooping him up onto the bonnet”, it has been claimed.
Prosecutor Martin Yale told a jury at Canterbury Crown Court that the victim Lekshmanan Asokkumar travelled half a mile clinging to the bonnet.
Victim Lekshmanan Asokkumar with wife Judie outside the Texaco garage
Charnley, of no fixed address, admitted causing serious injury by driving dangerously but has denied the more serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The prosecutor said: “It is the Crown’s case that Charnley 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 the incident happened on July 31 last year when Mr Asokkumar and Kim Waterman were working at the Texaco Service Station in London Road.
CCTV shows Mr Asokkumar on the bonnet of the car
“Ms Waterman’s attention was drawn to a woman filling a car at the pumps nearest the road.
“The man was still sitting in the driver’s seat – that was Joshua
"It was always his intention to make off without paying for petrol as he had no money to do so.
He had also altered the number plates of his car with black tape in order to disguise the vehicle’s identity.
"Ms Waterman mentioned to her colleague about not being able to see the registration of the car and Mr Asokkumar walked out of the shop.”
The prosecutor said the retail manager walked towards the car as the girl replaced the nozzle of the petrol pump and got back inside the car.
Police cordon around the Texaco garage in West Kingsdown
“Mr Asokummar stood in front of the car and put his hands up.
"Charnley revved the engine and lurched the car forward on more than one
occasion in an attempt to intimidate Mr Asokkumar", he alleged.
The jury heard that Charnley appeared angry and was 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.
A police cordon at the scene of the hit-and-run in West Kingsdown
"The car hit him, lifting him onto the bonnet and Charnley then continued down the road at 30 mph with Mr Asokkumar clinging to the car.
"The car hit him, lifting him onto the bonnet and Charnley then continued down the road at 30 mph with Mr Asokkumar clinging to the car" - prosecutor Martin Yale
“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.”
The car turned at speed into Hever Avenue and Mr Asokkumar was thrown clear – suffering serious head injuries and he was taken by air ambulance 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.
Charnley was arrested in August and admitted changing the registration number plates to steal petrol – but claimed he just panicked and drove away.
The case continues.
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