A driver who ran his Audi into a 16-year-old boy over alleged abuse he received for catching the youth trying to break into a house has been spared jailed by a judge.
Michael Ashton, 67, had complained to police about the youth’s behaviour towards him but no action was taken so he took the law into his own hands by knocking the teenager off his scooter on October 11, 2021, Gloucester Crown Court was told.
The boy suffered multiple bruising, a fractured foot and whiplash injuries.
Judge Rupert Lowe said he was ‘surprised’ that the police and Crown Prosecution Service had apparently done nothing to investigate Ashton’s complaints about the boy’s anti social behaviour.
He told Mr Ashton: ”It is quite irresponsible of the CPS not to have investigated this further, considering the time it has taken to come to court.
Michael Ashton had complained to police about the youth’s behaviour towards him but no action was taken so he took the law into his own hands by knocking the teenager off his scooter on October 11, 2021, Gloucester Crown Court (pictured) was told
‘I’m not laying this at any individual, but despite you pleading guilty at an early stage the prosecution seems to have lost interest in this case and it dropped down the priority list.’
He said that he was going to assume in the absence of any other evidence that Ashton was telling the truth about the boy’s anti-social behaviour and he would sentence him accordingly.
Ashton pleaded guilty to driving dangerously in Cheltenham on October 11, 2021 and was now sentenced to a 12-month suspended jail term and banned from driving for a year. After that, Ashton will have to sit an extended test before he can get his license back.
The judge said he did not think it was appropriate to order him to pay any compensation to the boy, whose father had arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and smashed the passenger windows of Ashton’s Audi car with a golf club.
At sentencing, Judge Lowe said: ‘I am surprised that the Crown Prosecution Service or the police have not looked into the background circumstances surrounding this case. This, I believe, would be proper mitigation and maybe highlight other antisocial behaviour in this area.’
Ashton claimed that the boy had targeted him because he had caught the youth and other teens trying to break into a local house and he had remonstrated with them.
Since that incident the youth had allegedly been to his house several times and banged at the door, making Ashton nervous and apprehensive, the court was told.
The judge added: ‘It looks like the youth’s father was also demonstrating the same type of behaviour. It is not very responsible of the Crown to say it’s not going to comment on these matters. Ashton’s complaint should be looked into as it appears the police have done nothing about this.
He found him riding his scooter on Seneca Way at the junction with Distel Close (pictured) in Cheltenham and decided to run into the back of him, Ms Taylor added
‘Undoubtedly there are bureaucratic and procedural reasons for this, but it doesn’t excuse it. The Crown have been silent over this part of the investigation, yet this case has taken two years to get to court.’
Prosecutor Lucy Taylor told the court that on October 11 the 16-year-old had allegedly kicked Ashton’s front door.
Following previous abuse from the boy, this incident ‘tipped [Ashton] over the threshold limit of his tolerance’ and he then went out searching for the youth, Ms Taylor said.
He found him riding his scooter on Seneca Way at the junction with Distel Close in Cheltenham and decided to run into the back of him, Ms Taylor added.
They boy lost his balance in the collision and partially fell underneath Ashton’s Audi. The 67-year-old got out of the car and was heard saying: ‘That’s for vandalising my house.’
The court was told that whilst the police were interviewing Ashton and conducting a roadside breath test – which was negative – the youth’s father arrived at the scene and smashed the passenger windows of the Audi with a golf club.
The boy was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries.
Ashton, who was not legally represented, told the judge he believed that the boy was the ringleader of anti-social behaviour in the area.
They boy lost his balance in the collision and partially fell underneath Ashton’s Audi (stock image of an Audi). The 67-year-old got out of the car and was heard saying: ‘That’s for vandalising my house’
The judge told Ashton: ‘You drove into a youth on a scooter on the pavement with your car. Even at the age of 16 he is in the eyes of the law still a child.
‘In your case you have some valid mitigation. I have at least six glowing references that speak about you as a friend, neighbour and work colleague. It is unusual for a man of your age to come to court to answer a charge of dangerous driving. This was a very serious piece of driving.
‘However, when you committed this offence it was over two years ago. The Crown Prosecution Service are now so slow that it seems it takes a case this long to come to court. You case was not difficult by any means.
‘But I can’t deal with this case without investigating the background circumstances. You discovered a group of young lads allegedly trying to break into a property. You went and remonstrated with the youth you believed was the ringleader, a local trouble maker who perceived himself to be above the law.
‘And after this argument with the youth, he then retaliated and picks on you by banging on your door several times and making you nervous and making your life unpleasant.
‘You reported this criminal behaviour to the police, but it seems that the police don’t have anything to say in this matter. The police have been absolutely silent on these matters during this court process.’