A 23-year-old man has been jailed for attacking a woman and attempting to steal her vehicle, after she stopped to assist the driver of a lorry he crashed into on a Doncaster stretch of motorway.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how in the minutes leading up to the attack on the afternoon of December 3 last year, the victim was driving on the M180, near Doncaster, and noticed a Ford Transit van being driven erratically.
The van was being driven by defendant, Declan Weston, and in her statement to police the described how she saw the defendant driving from ‘side to side’ and into a ‘coned-off area,’ before making his way back on to the carriageway.
A short time later the woman noticed a lorry and the van driven by Weston pulled over on the hard shoulder, and pulled her Ford Fiesta over to see whether she could assist.
Judge Michael Slater said Weston is believed to have crashed into the lorry.
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said: “She spoke to a woman, who said she hadn’t been involved. The victim became aware of the defendant. He came up to where she was stood.
“He appeared to be in an agitated state. The woman had her car keys in her hand. He went towards her, and said: ‘I’m having them,’ and snatched them for her hand causing her fob to break.”
Mr Coxon said Weston then began to make his way towards the woman’s car, and she chased after him.
“He stopped part of the way towards the car, turned round, and without any warning, struck a blow to her face, the effect of which knocked her to the floor, causing a cut to her palm and damage to her knee,” said Mr Coxon.
Weston then let himself into the woman’s car and put the key in the ignition, but was unable to start the vehicle after failing to press the clutch pedal.
A member of the public who witnessed the incident taking place, subsequently tried to pull Weston out of the car and he was eventually removed but ran away through some nearby fields before police arrived on the scene.
Weston was arrested later that afternoon in Sandtoft in the Isle of Axholme, North Lincolnshire.
Despite his refusal to provide a blood sample for testing, police were able to ascertain that Weston was under the influence of cocaine after using an alternative testing method.
The victim suffered a cut to her upper lip which required stitches, as well as grazing to her left palm and bruising to her left knee.
Through a victim personal statement read out in court, the woman said: “I feel really emotional about what’s happened. I’m fed up...I don’t really want to go out anymore. I’ve never been assaulted before so this has had a massive impact on me.”
Weston, of Mees Square, Eccles pleaded guilty to a number of offences including inflicting grievous bodily harm; attempted theft of a motor vehicle; failure to provide a sample; driving without insurance and driving without a license.
Edward Moss, defending, told the court that the best piece of mitigation that could be made in Weston’s favour was his early guilty plea, adding that he has struggled with a cocaine addiction since 2016.
“He is genuinely sorry, and has little recollection of the events of that day,” said Mr Moss.
Judge Slater jailed Weston for 18 months, and banned him from driving for 21 months.