Bradley farmer rammed daytripper’s car

Craven Herald: A police picture of the damaged Astra A police picture of the damaged Astra

A farmer and former parish councillor who used his 4x4 vehicle as a weapon to ram a daytripper’s car on to a dry stone wall has been spared an immediate prison sentence.

Simon Wallbank was suffering from mental health problems when he repeatedly drove his Land Rover Discovery into a Vauxhall Astra blocking the track to his farm on August 9, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Wallbank, 46, of Skipton Road, Bradley, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and common assault at Skipton Magistrates Court and was committed to the crown court for sentence.

Prosecutor Richard Davies said Benjamin Brown, from Leeds, became lost on a trip to the Dales with his girlfriend and pulled into the farm gateway to consult a map.

Wallbank blasted his horn but Mr Brown was unable to turn his car to get out of the way because the Discovery was so close.

Wallbank rammed the car up to four times after the couple had got out, the court heard last Wednesday.

Mr Davies said the Astra, worth £3,000, was a write-off.

Wallbank assaulted Mr Brown by pushing him and had possibly grazed his leg with his vehicle.

Wallbank was in breach of a conditional discharge imposed by Skipton magistrates on July 26 for criminal damage and assaulting a police officer.

He threw a spanner at a psychiatrist’s car and responded badly when the police arrived.

Wallbank’s barrister, Robin Frieze, said he acted in a way he would never have done in ordinary circumstances. He became emotional and aggressive after his medication for depression was changed.

Now prescribed different medicine, he was much better.

The interim driving ban imposed by magistrates was having a major effect on his ability to run the farm.

Judge Neil Clark sentenced Wallbank to four months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 18 months’ supervision, including a victim awareness course.

He was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay Mr Brown £250 compensation.

Judge Clark told Wallbank: “It is very sad to see somebody like you, at 46 years of age, who has much to be proud of.”

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