A MAN accused of driving his car with his girlfriend clinging onto the bonnet and wipers has been cleared of dangerous driving.
But Joshua Hargreaves, 22, now of Rowan Close, Llay, Wrexham, a Royal Mail mechanic, was convicted by a district judge at Llandudno court of careless driving.
He was fined £480 with £498 costs and received six penalty points on his clean licence.
District Judge Gwyn Jones said: “I am more than satisfied the standard of driving on the evening in question fell below what could be expected.”
The court heard student Lauren Noel, 21, who had been in a relationship with him for six years, stood in the middle of a road in Abergele last November but Hargreaves drove towards her at 30mph.
The judge said he was angry and there was “more than sufficient time” for him to stop.
Miss Noel, who had been shocked after discovering her partner had been cheating on her, said she had wanted an explanation.
In evidence, via a video link to the court, she alleged Hargreaves accelerated towards her.
“I was waving him down. I didn’t think he would accelerate towards me,” she said. A “few feet” away from her, he had swerved and hit a neighbour’s parked car.
She said: “I was then leaning on the bonnet asking him to get out. He started to move the car again with me on it. I held on.
“He was accelerating and kept swerving from side to side to throw me off, for a good three houses length. By the time we got to the third house that’s when I came off the bonnet.”
She had a small amount of reddening to the stomach and bruising.
Hargreaves accepted in court he had been cheating on his partner with someone else. He went to their house to get some belongings, intending to stay the night on a beach. He alleged Miss Noel was “really confrontational” and had jumped out as he drove along a residential street.
“I had no time to stop. I turned into the parked car to avoid hitting Lauren,” he claimed.
He disputed he had been in the middle of the road revving the engine.
He maintained she was screaming at him to get out of the car and stopped him moving forward.
“I was trying to get around her. She then jumped on top of the car. I was feeling scared,” he said.
Hargreaves said he was driving so slowly the speed didn’t show on the speedometer.
Cross-examined by prosecutor Robert Blakemore who alleged it was “extremely foolish” to move the car, Hargreaves told the court: “I was scared for my life.”
Hargreaves said: “She shouldn’t have jumped on a moving car.”
He told police he went at 5mph.
Defence solicitor Craig Hutchinson told the judge: “He’s driven at a very slow speed once his partner has put herself on top of the bonnet.”
The lawyer said, at first, it might seem the events sounded like an action scene “from a movie”.
Judge Jones suggested the type of incident “so often canvassed on television programmes such as Jeremy Kyle”.
Giving his decision, Judge Jones said there had been evidence from a “hurt and understandably annoyed” woman. She was a credible witness.
However, he told Hargreaves: “The evidence falls short of supporting dangerous driving.”
He said to him: “You were under some emotions. Whatever those emotions were, you should have ensured your driving didn't fall below the standard.”
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