A York man who tried to mow down his sworn enemy in his work van has been jailed for nine months after a judge told him he was lucky not to be facing a murder charge.
Martin Robinson, 32, aimed his Citroen Berlingo at the man who just managed to jump out of the way as the van ploughed into a garden hedge which was “completely flattened”, York Crown Court heard.
Robinson then got out of his van brandishing a baseball bat as he bellowed: “I’m going to kill that fxxxxxx kid.”
The man whose hedge had been destroyed came out of his house and saw a raging Robinson wielding what he thought was an iron or metal bar, said prosecutor Dan Cordey.
Robinson, who remarkably was relatively unscathed, then turned the van around to go looking for the named man whom he’d nearly run over and with whom he had an ongoing feud.
“The (named man) was seen hiding behind another hedge further along the road,” said the prosecuting barrister.
He too was carrying a weapon – an 18-inch bar.
When neighbours tried to calm Robinson down, he ignored them and continued to wave the baseball bat in the air, shouting: “Somebody is going to get killed tonight.”
Police were called out to the incident which occurred in Byland Avenue, York, at about 6pm on 11 November last year.
Robinson told them he had driven at the man “in blind rage” but wasn’t sure whether he had hit him or not.
He said the man in question was “tooled up” and had been threatening his family.
Robinson, who was “shouting and swearing and waving his arms around”, was “visibly upset” as he was arrested.
He said he believed he had had a mental breakdown and was taking medication for depression. It was the anniversary of a family tragedy in which he and his partner lost twins to a miscarriage.
Mr Cordey said the incident stemmed from a beef between Robinson’s girlfriend and the named man who were neighbours.
According to Robinson, the man had called him prior to the incident to say he was “coming to his address to sort it out and was aggressive”.
Mr Cordey said the van came round a corner “at speed” and swerved directly at the man who only just managed to jump out of the way.
Could have been murder
Robison, of Byland Avenue, was charged with dangerous driving and possessing an offensive weapon. He was originally also charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, but this was ultimately dropped by the prosecution.
The man whose hedge was destroyed did not press charges, nor did the man who narrowly avoided being hit by the van.
Robinson admitted the offences and appeared for sentence yesterday (Tuesday, 10 May).
His solicitor advocate Neil Cutte conceded that “in terms of dangerous driving, it’s about as bad as it gets”.
He said the incident was “out of character” and that Robinson was “deeply remorseful”.
Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, told Robinson: “If you had killed (the named man), which you could have done, you’d have been charged with murder and you’d have been looking at a life sentence with a minimum period of heaven knows what.
“He got away with his life – just – or you could have crippled him for life.”
The judge said he would reduce the sentence because Robinson, a father of one, was otherwise a hard-working man of good character who had suffered mental-health problems due to a personal tragedy.
Robinson will serve half of the nine-month sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence. He was also given a one-year driving ban.