A ‘vicious’ York criminal has been jailed for terrorising two women in a moving vehicle while high on drugs.
Robbie McHale, 28, grabbed one of the women and pushed her into a footwell before clambering into the front passenger seat of the Audi A3, York Crown Court heard.
She managed to escape after crawling out of the passenger door, but McHale beat her up so badly she had her front two teeth knocked out.
He then seized the keys from her friend, who was driving the car, and sped off, before losing control of the vehicle which veered off the road, went down an embankment and crashed into a tree in a village near Selby.
Prosecutor Sam Roxborough said McHale had spent the day with a male acquaintance and the two women he “didn’t really know”.
When the other man departed in the evening, McHale was left with the two women and one of them felt particularly “uncomfortable” in his presence because he was being “loud and aggressive” and was taking drugs in her friend’s car.
When they set off for a friend’s house in the named woman’s car, McHale was in the back seat and the other woman was in the front passenger seat.
En route to the house, McHale inexplicably reached over and put his arm around the neck of the woman in the passenger seat, “trying to pull her onto the seats in the back”. He then climbed into the front passenger seat and pushed the woman into the footwell.
“As he did so, he shouted to (the female driver) that she should give him the car keys,” said Mr Roxborough.
“She didn’t. He said he was going to count to ten and if she didn’t (hand over the keys), he would knock the fxxx out of her. As he was counting, he said he would kill her.”
Crashed into tree
Mr Roxborough said the female driver had stopped the car by this point. She was shoved aside by McHale who got out of the car as the other woman, who was disabled following a recent leg amputation, tried to crawl out of the footwell and out of the passenger door.
She tried to get away, but McHale caught up with her and threw her back into the car, saying he was going to “take the two of them hostage”.
He hit her multiple times, and only stopped when a nearby resident said she was calling the police.
McHale, a banned driver, then drove off in the car.
Police found him later that day and arrested him, but the car was nowhere to be seen.
He said he had driven the car off the road and down an embankment near Drax Golf Club on the A645 near Selby, before crashing into a tree.
He ultimately admitted taking a vehicle without consent, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and driving while disqualified and with no insurance. He admitted a further charge of aggravated vehicle taking on the day he was due to face trial.
The offences occurred between 29 April and the early hours of 30 April last year.
Previous manslaughter conviction
McHale, of Ostman Road, York, appeared for sentence via video link yesterday (Monday) after being remanded in custody.
In a statement read out in court, the female driver said she couldn’t eat or sleep after the incident and her confidence was reduced to “zero”. She had nightmares and was convinced that if she hadn’t escaped McHale’s grasp before he drove off, she would have died.
The other victim, an amputee, suffered a bloodied and swollen nose and lip, and scratches to her hand from being assaulted next to the bushes.
She said she had never been so scared in her life and no longer felt safe in her home. She had problems sleeping and didn’t go out on her own anymore.
McHale had previous convictions for dangerous driving and violence including the shocking incident which led to the death of 21-year-old York man Sam Wilson in October 2013.
In April 2015, following a trial at Leeds Crown Court, McHale, Linden Lee Smith, 20, of Kirkham Avenue, Bell Farm, and Jack Alexander, 21, of Fox Covert, Huntington, were jailed for a combined 17 years for the manslaughter of Mr Wilson who was accidentally run over by a taxi on Haxby Road after being punched by Alexander which left him lying helpless and unconscious on the road.
Mr Wilson, a former York College student, died from a fracture of the skull after being run over by the taxi seconds later.
McHale, who was said to have started the violence by swinging a punch at Mr Wilson, was sent to a young-offender institution for five-and-a-half years.
Defence barrister Rhianyyd Clement said McHale had mental-health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder which had led to drink and drug abuse.
Recorder Mr T Clayson said it was clear that McHale, a father-of-two, had taken a “heavy” dose of drugs before terrorising the two women and subjecting one of the victims to a “prolonged” assault.
McHale was jailed for two years and eight months and given a 16-month driving ban. He was also slapped with a three-year restraining order to protect the two women.