Published: 08:30, 08 July 2014 |
Updated: 08:52, 08 July 2014
A drunk motorist who broke a man's leg in two places by driving a car over him has been jailed for four years.
Lee Prebble ran over Brent Hall after he had been knocked to the ground outside The Fox pub in Hartnup Street, Maidstone.
Prebble, 29, was heard to rev the engine of his father's Audi A4 before driving towards a group of men and women just after 11pm on February 23 last year.
Mr Hall was said to be laying "prone and defenceless" on the ground in front of the car when Prebble drove over his legs and then reversed.
It was claimed during Prebble's trial at Maidstone Crown Court that he "panicked" when the group gathered around the car and acted out of "excessive self-defence".
But jailing the car body painter, Recorder Tom Forster said the jury had rejected his account by convicting him by a 10-2 majority of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The judge added that while he accepted Prebble had not intended to cause serious injury, he had committed a “grossly reckless” act and used the car as a weapon .
Prebble, who has previous convictions for dangerous driving, threatening behaviour and assault causing actual bodily harm, was also banned from driving for four years.
Trouble flared after an argument at the pub spilled out into the street. Mr Hall went outside to see what the commotion was about and was among those standing near Prebble's car.
"They posed no threat to you. You revved the engine to either deter people from approaching or to frighten and intimidate people..." - Recorder Tom Forster
"They posed no threat to you," said Recorder Forster. "You revved the engine to either deter people from approaching or to frighten and intimidate people.
"Thereafter, in a manner which the jury concluded as being reckless, and in my view grossly so, you drove that vehicle towards the group and the consequences were quite dreadful."
The judge said he accepted Mr Hall had been knocked over as people began to push each other out of the way in fear and not by the Audi.
But he added that Prebble "cared still less".
Prebble, formerly of Wallis Place, Hart Street, Maidstone, had originally gone on trial accused of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
However, the jury was formally discharged from considering the charge after the alternative offence of inflicting GBH was added during the proceedings.
Prebble was cleared of causing Mr Hall grievous bodily harm with intent and two offences of assaulting Graham Martin and his daughter, Lauren Martin, who were also outside the pub that evening.
The Audi keys were pulled from the ignition and thrown onto the roof of The Fox to prevent Prebble from causing further damage.
He was then dragged from the car and attacked when members of the public were said to have taken "the law into their own hands".
Recorder Forster said Prebble later "avoided or frustrated" police attempts to breathalyse him.
Mr Hall told the court he had no recollection of what happened to him after he went outside the pub to try to calm people down.
He needed surgery to insert two pins into his right leg and was in plaster for eight weeks. He has since made a full recovery.
Prebble was admitted to hospital after an overdose in April.
Mary Jacobson, defending, said he had suffered from depression since the cot death of his eight-month-old child in August last year.
He and his girlfriend had been unable to return to their "tainted" home and had been living in a caravan.
Prebble was said to be under the care of a community psychiatric nurse, but was not due to receive counselling until December.
Miss Jacobson urged the court to suspend his sentence so he could receive "structured help" to address his alcohol misuse and bereavement.
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