A MAN was standing in the kitchen of his former toll-house home in south Warwickshire when he heard a noise like a low-flying jet as a suicidal driver aimed straight at the house.
Moments later a Ford Fiesta ploughed into the house, ending up in the dining room, causing £80,000 damage and injuring driver Grant Bond and the householder’s student daughter.
And at Warwick Crown Court the 23-year-old driver pleaded guilty to charges of causing damage being reckless whether life was endangered and dangerous driving.
Bond, of Alluana Avenue, Alcester, was jailed for two-and-a-half years and disqualified for two years, after which he will have to take an extended test before getting his licence back.
Prosecutor Sharon Bahia said that in the early hours of August 15 last year Bond phoned the police to say he was driving his car but was not feeling well.
He explained he was feeling suicidal, but said he did not want to get arrested because that would make him panic.
At 5.30 that morning Barry Lea was in the kitchen of his then home, South Lodge on the B4088 Evesham Road at Weethley, near Alcester, when he heard a noise he described as ‘like a low-flying jet.’
The kitchen faces out onto Evesham Road, and when he looked out of the window he saw a car flying towards the house at around 80mph.
The car ploughed into the house with tremendous force, ending up part-way into the dining room and injuring Mr Lea’s 20-year-old student daughter who was still in bed.
Unable to get to her room from inside, Mr Lea had to go outside and rescue his daughter, who had suffered whiplash and other injuries and still has flashbacks and nightmares, through the window of her bedroom.
Bond, who was badly injured in the smash was rushed to hospital with injuries including a suspected fractured pelvis.
When he was later interviewed he said he had very little memory of what had happened after he called the police, but could recall crying his eyes out just before driving at the house.
He said he had had problems since the death of his father when he was 15, as well as other problems in his life, adding he had taken half a bottle of Nightol sleeping tablets and alcohol, and had called the Samaritans as well as the police.
Geoffrey Dann, defending, said a psychological report clearly showed Bond’s mental health problems.
But while acknowledging Bond’s history was a “sad and tortured one”, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said he had risked the lives of others in his suicide attempt which as a “very serious crime”.
Mr Dann added Bond’s had not realised the house was occupied.
Jailing Bond, Judge Griffith-Jones told him: “I don’t want you to think that when I describe your behaviour as wicked I am ignoring the degree of desperation you had reached, nor is it a case where you were so clear-thinking that you identified someone’s house and decided you were going to drive into it, not caring about who may also lose their life.
“You drove at a very high speed straight into the house and devastated it; but mere seriously you devastated the peace of mind of those who were there. They were traumatised by it.
“It was such a wicked act and had such devastating consequences that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”