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Turf farm boss who tried to murder neighbour in Sandhurst over access feud is jailed


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A former turf farm boss convicted of trying to murder a neighbour following a long-running feud has been jailed for 15 years.

Charles Wood deliberately drove his van at a pensioner walking near Sandhurst after an ongoing dispute over access to his home.

Charles Wood driving off after the crash and then inspecting his damage

The 59-year old-claimed he had no recollection of the incident.

Wood, of Rye Road, Sandhurst, had denied the murderous attempt in March last year.

A jury were been told that it had been just after 1.20pm on March 2 last year that Thomas Robinson, walking along the village on his way to do some shopping, was hit by Wood's van.

The pensioner 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.

Charles Wood has been locked up for 15 years for the attempted murder of his neighbour. Picture: Kent Police
Charles Wood has been locked up for 15 years for the attempted murder of his neighbour. Picture: Kent Police

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

Speaking at a previous hearing at Maidstone Crown Court, Prosecutor Paul Valder had told how there had been "something of a feud between the two men over access to Wood's farm".

The moment Wood inspected his damaged van was previously shown to the jury.

The 59-year-old told the court: "I have no recollection... but I wouldn't jeopardise travelling, which is what I love to do."

He said he studied agriculture in the US and had 10 Downing Street, Wentworth Golf Club and the Royal Parks among the clients of his turf company.

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

He also told of buying the land in 1993 and then building a farm in Sandhurst, adding that the land "dated back to Saxon-Roman times."

But the former masseuse says he had to change career in 2019 after falling 17ft from a ladder and being left with headaches.

He told the trial he had no memory of going to visit an osteopath, shopping at Lidl or Sainsbury's, his van hitting neighbour Thomas Robinson, going to the hospital or talking with police officers.

He said: "I can't remember anything. I was not in dispute with my neighbour."

Wood added there had been fall-outs in the past over access over his land - but the last was 2016.

"It is only by chance that the victim survived this unprovoked assault ..."

Valder said: "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."

Wood will have to serve a minimum of two thirds of his sentence and will also be disqualified from driving for 12 years and six months on his release.

DCI Garry Cook, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Wood used his van as a weapon and his actions left his elderly victim suffering a number of appalling injuries.

"It is only by chance that the victim survived this unprovoked assault, although there is little doubt these serious injuries will have a profound and long-lasting effect.

"As well as the lasting physical scars, the impact of this crime will likely have a significant psychological impact on the victim for the rest of their life.

"I only hope today's sentence will provide some closure and reassurance that at least justice has now been served."

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