Home   Weald   News   Article

Man accused of trying to murder neighbour in Rye Road, Sandhurst, by running him over with VW Transporter van

More news, no ads


A removals man has told how he saw a pensioner thrown into the air after he was hit by a van during a feud.

Charles Wood, 59, has gone on trial accused of deliberately trying to kill neighbour Thomas Robinson at the height of the dispute.

Charles Wood, in black suit and glasses, leaves court
Charles Wood, in black suit and glasses, leaves court

And a jury at Maidstone Crown Court has heard how after the incident in March last year, Wood - who has denied attempted murder - drove away without stopping.

Prosecutor Paul Valder said there had been a disagreement between the two men over access to Wood's farm.

Mr Robinson was walking along Rye Road in Sandhurst when he was struck from behind by Wood's VW Transporter van.

The pensioner, whose age was not revealed in court, was thrown into the air and suffered spinal and rib fractures, a bleed on the brain and a bruised aorta.

Mr Robinson spent almost four months in hospital, including treatment at the Stoke Mandeville Rehabilitation Centre.

Wood was arrested the following day at his farm, which he accessed from a road running beside Mr Robinson's property.

This was "the source of the problem" between the two men, the prosecutor said.

Police found the damaged van parked outside Wood's home. It had a large dent in the bonnet and a smashed windscreen.

Volvo driver John Pearce, who was travelling in the opposite direction, told the jury: "It was done deliberately, from my point of view, which was parallel to the impact. I heard the thud.

"There was no attempt made to miss him," he added.

Removals driver Andrew Player told the jury how he heard a van's engine roaring as it overtook his van.

Rye Road in Sandhurst Picture: Google
Rye Road in Sandhurst Picture: Google

"I heard a big bang and then saw a hat, coat and shopping bag going in the air. Then I saw the man face down on the ground. The impact had been on the pavement.

"I was expecting the van to stop but it just drove fast away towards Hawkhurst," he said.

Mr Valder said although Wood accepted he was driving the vehicle when it hit Mr Robinson, he has no recollection of the incident.

Wood, of Rye Road, Sandhurst, denies attempted murder, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

Mr Valder told the court at the start of Wood's trial that he and his neighbour had been "engaged in something of a feud for a number of years".

"They both lived just outside the village of Sandhurst. The defendant had to access his home via a path that ran beside Mr Robinson's home and it appeared that was the source of the problem between them," he said.

"The prosecution say the defendant deliberately drove onto the pavement at speed and into Mr Robinson, causing him serious injuries.

"The prosecution say the defendant, from his actions, must have intended to kill Mr Robinson. The defendant then drove off.

"Mr Robinson, thankfully, survived but spent almost four months recovering from his injuries.

"The defendant was arrested the next day. He accepts he was the driver. He maintains he has no recollection of the incident."

'I heard a big bang and then saw a hat, coat and shopping bag going in the air. Then I saw the man face down on the ground...'

It was just after 1.20pm on March 2 last year that Mr Robinson, walking into the village to do some shopping, was hit by Wood's van, the court heard.

The Transporter then pulled back onto the road and drove off with black smoke billowing from the exhaust.

The court was also shown CCTV footage of the van doubling back along Rye Road and past where Mr Robinson lay seriously injured.

Mr Valder said: "Anyone who deliberately drives up onto the pavement and then uses their vehicle effectively as a lethal weapon and into the back of a pedestrian at speed, knocking them down and then fleeing the scene, must have, the Crown say, an intention to kill."

The jury was also shown CCTV of Wood at home and out shopping on the morning of the incident, as well as footage from his own security cameras of him returning home just five minutes after hitting Mr Robinson.

He was seen inspecting his damaged vehicle before unloading his groceries into the barn.

The court also heard that less than an hour later, Wood was driven by a friend to the Conquest Hospital in St Leonard's, East Sussex, where he was taken in in a wheelchair.

Charles Wood, in black suit and glasses, leaves court
Charles Wood, in black suit and glasses, leaves court

"You will have to decide whether this was the defendant play-acting, knowing full well what he had just done," said Mr Valder.

He also told the court Wood either "couldn't or wouldn't" give details of the incident he had been involved in.

Results of a CT scan were "normal", as were subsequent medical tests after his arrest, and Wood was discharged later that evening.

By the time he arrived home, police had forced entry into his barn and taken his van away. CCTV showed Wood inspecting the boarded up property.

Officers arrived for a second time that night but again found no one at home. Wood was eventually arrested in a nearby caravan the next day.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More