Shropshire Star

Driver avoids jail after deliberately hitting neighbours in Market Drayton street

A 32-year-old man who deliberately drove at and hit two of his neighbours as one pushed a 10-month-old in a pram, has avoided a jail sentence.

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Telford Justice Centre - Telford magistrates court - Telford town centre

Tony Symonds, previously of Linden Court Way, Market Drayton, admitted two charges of assault against two women following the incident on December 18, 2020.

Judge David Hale at Shrewsbury Crown Court, sitting at Telford Magistrates Court on Friday, heard how Symonds had been returning to his home in Linden Court Way with his partner at around 9.10am after dropping their children at school when he saw the two women cross the road before him.

Prosecutor Gary Cook told the court how there was "bad blood" between Symond's partner and the two women.

He also said one of the female victims was pushing her 10-month-old son in a pram when they crossed the street just as Symonds was about to turn right into the street.

Mr Cook added that when Symonds was just two feet away in his car when he "deliberately" let out the clutch, one of his victims was struck in the leg and suffered bruising while the other was thrown to the floor.

The 10-month-old child was unharmed and was "never at risk of being hit by the car" the court was told.

Mr Cook added that since both parties have now moved away from the area, the previous "bad blood" between the families had now been resolved,

In sentencing Symonds - who now lives in Shrewsbury - to 14 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, Judge David Hale said: "It was a desperately dangerous thing to do."

He added that the case had similarities to a recent incident in Oswestry where Stephen McHugh, 28, was jailed for life after he hit and killed 22-year-old Rebecca Steer in the town centre in October last year.

"Clearly it was an assault," added Judge Hale. "But you have a good record, you are in work and are a family man."

He ordered Symonds to pay £300 compensation to both women and also handed down a "modest disqualification" from driving for three months. He also ordered a charge of dangerous driving to lie on file.

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