White van man drove at house and rammed into occupant's car

Christopher Street in Hartlepool. Picture Google Images.
Christopher Street in Hartlepool. Picture Google Images.

A white van man pinned three people against a house wall before ramming and writing off a car belonging to the householder.

Tom Higgins used his van as a weapon against an occupant of the house who Higgins thought was mistreating a female family member.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A court heard Higgins mounted the pavement and drove toward the house, pinning three occupants against a wall.

Higgins drove off only to return and rammed a Volkswagen car, which was later written off.

No injures were caused in the early morning incident, and a judge didn't send Higgins to prison after hearing he is in work.

"The householder is a retired lady," said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, at Teesside Crown Court.

"She was asleep in a chair in her house in Christopher Street, Hartlepool, when she was awoken at about 2am by a loud bang.

"It's not clear what caused the noise, but she, her son, and a friend both went to the front door to investigate.

"A Transit van driven by Higgins mounted the pavement and effectively pinned them to the wall.

"The van drove off, but returned a short time later and rammed a VW car belonging to the householder.

"Insurers later declared the car a write-off."

Ms Haigh told the court there was text messages between the parties both before and after the incident.

"It appears the son of the householder is in a relationship with the defendant's cousin." said Ms Haigh.

"The defendant formed the opinion his cousin was being mistreated in that relationship."

Higgins, 22, of Greenbank Road, Hartlepool, admitted dangerous driving on November 22.

He has a previous conviction for driving with excess alcohol.

Paul Cleasby, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Higgins realises that his motivation for acting as he did is no justification for doing so.

"He lost his temper that evening, which is something he regrets.

"Ordinarily, he is a hardworking young man who is well-regarded by his colleagues.

"After the drink drive conviction his insurance premium rose to £5,000.

"It is estimated that once he has served the inevitable ban for this offence, his premium will be £15,000.

"Mr Higgins is also funding his own defence.

"If allowed to keep his liberty, he is determined to continue working even though that will mean him travelling to contracts on public transport at his own expense."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton sentenced Higgins to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered him to pay £2,840 in fines and costs.

The judge told Higgins: "This was a bad piece of dangerous driving, albeit dangerous driving of a short duration.

"There was risk of injury, but fortunately no one was injured.

"I'm mindful that you are working, which is not something I want to interfere with if I can avoid it."

Higgins was banned from driving for two years, and made the subject of an order banning him from contacting his victims for five years.

He must take an extended driving test if he wishes to drive after the ban expires.