Landscape gardener jailed for four years for 'mowing down' two teenagers that were camping in a field

 

A landscape gardener who drove his van into two teenagers who were camping in a field in what was an "absolutely terrifying" attack has been jailed for four years.

Benjamin Allerton, 25, told the pair: "You've got five seconds to run". He then flattened their tent and ploughed into the 16-year-old boy and girl, 13, as they fled.

Allerton, of Selby, North Yorkshire, plotted the alcohol-fuelled attack in retaliation, after he got into an argument with their friends, York Crown Court was told.

He had approached the group of youths, who were drinking and camping in a field in the nearby village of Barlby, and joined their party. But things turned sour when he tried to put his arm around a 13-year-old girl, Andrew Dallas, prosecuting, told the court.

He was asked to leave and was punched in the face, then shoved into his van. He returned less than an hour later, aimed his vehicle at the makeshift campsite and gave the teenagers a five-second countdown before he drove at them.

"He admitted that his intention was to injure them," Mr Dallas said.

Allerton careered across the field several times, flattening a tent and hitting the boy and girl as they fled. He ran over the boy's arm and shoulder, fracturing them, and clipped the girl, who was not badly hurt, the court heard.

The boy spent three days in hospital and had two operations to put a metal plate and screws in his arm. The girl was traumatised and still suffers flashbacks.

Allerton was initially charged with two counts of attempted murder which he denied. When his sentencing hearing began, he admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and the original charges were dropped.

Damian Nolan, defending, told the court that Allerton's behaviour changed after he was assaulted in 2009 and he has suffered post-concussion disorder which can affect mood and aggression.

"His family has been consistent in saying there has been a sea-change in his behaviour since that assault," Mr Nolan said.

The altercation with one of the teenagers in the field, in which Allerton was punched to the floor, was a "trigger point".

The defendant is a reliable father-of-two and a stepfather who deserves credit for his previous good character and guilty pleas, he said.

Telling Allerton that a prison sentence was inevitable, Judge Michael Mettyear said: "You drove round deliberately seeking out those you could catch in an open field and you struck two people. It was good luck, not judgment, that the injuries were not worse."

Allerton's post-concussion disorder may have played a part in the attack, the judge said, but added: "In my judgment, it was the alcohol-fuelled anger that was the much more immediate cause."

He gave Allerton credit for his guilty plea, jailing him for four years and imposing an 18-month driving ban which begins immediately.

"You are a young man of previous good character. I read each and every reference put in on your behalf. They all speak of you in affectionate, indeed glowing terms. It is very sad to see someone like you in a dock in a Crown Court. It's especially true when you are charged with such a serious offence and face the inevitability of a custodial sentence.

"I pass such a sentence on you with no pleasure at all."

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Mandy Grundy, of North Yorkshire Police, said in a statement: "What began as a fun, camping adventure for the teenagers turned into a terrifying nightmare during which they were in fear for their lives.

"Allerton used his vehicle as a weapon to cause serious injuries, and it goes without saying that the consequences could have been much worse.

"The sentence reflects the seriousness of the incident and Allerton now has ample time to reflect on what he has done."

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering