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19th Oct, 2021

Driver who deliberately ran over policeman escapes being jailed

Editorial Correspondent 17th Dec, 2017 Updated: 17th Dec, 2017

A DRIVER who deliberately ran over a policeman in Stratford then crashed into a lamppost before running off.

But despite pleading guilty to causing bodily harm to Pc Scott Caswell by wanton and furious driving and a separate offence of dangerous driving, Barrie Pearce has escaped being jailed.

The 26-year-old of Cross Street, Burton-on-Trent, who also admitted driving with excess alcohol, was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months.

Recorder Anupama Thompson also banned him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to do 100 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation activity for 35 days.

Prosecutor Cathlyn Orchard said on Sunday November 27 last year, at about 6.20pm, Pc Caswell, who is from Whitnash, and a colleague were on patrol in Stratford.

The officers, who Miss Orchard pointed out were in uniform but in an unmarked car, were asked to attend ‘a matter of concern’ in Hathaway Green Lane.

That followed a call to the police by Pearce’s ex-wife who was concerned for his mental state after he had sent her a picture showing him in the car with alcohol and pills.

When they arrived, they saw Pearce sitting in his Ford Focus using his phone, so pulled up a few metres in front of him and Pc Caswell got out of their car and walked towards the Focus.

Pearce threw down the phone and drove straight at Pc Caswell.

Miss Orchard said: “The speed he attained was not great, but it gave Pc Caswell no time to avoid being hit.

“There was contact between the front wing and the officer’s right side, throwing him 6 to 7 feet, and he banged his head on the ground and hurt his wrist.”

Pearce continued driving, and the other officer tried to stop him by driving into the side of the Focus – but he kept going and drove off at speed with no lights on.

Pc Caswell got back into the police car, and 300 metres further on at the junction with Alcester Road, they found the Focus abandoned, having ploughed into and knocked down a lamppost.

People from a nearby convenience store had rushed over to try to assist the driver, but Pearce got out and made off on foot.

He was arrested nearby and found to be double the legal alcohol limit, and told the police he had had six cans of alcohol.

She added Pc Caswell, a married man with two young children, fortunately escaped without severe injuries, but had to wear a brace to keep his thumb immobile, and also suffered cuts to his forehead and elbow.

Emma Nott, defending, said a report described Pearce as a vulnerable person, and at the time he was in a suicidal state.

Recorder Thompson told Pearce: “I accept you were suffering from mental health issues at the time, and that your intention was to harm yourself and you did not intend to harm anyone else. But when you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you have a responsibility to other people.

“But I accept this arose out of your vulnerability and your suicidal state. There is no doubt these offences pass the custody threshold.”

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