Dad drove to Wales before crashing and dragging woman from her car
A dad drove his son 170 miles to west Wales before crashing twice in the space of a few minutes and then trying to drag a terrified woman from her car at a roundabout. When questioned by police, Stephen Skidmore said he thought he had been poisoned, and that his life was in danger. A court heard there was no obvious reason for his bizarre behaviour but it may have been linked to a “very bad reaction” to cannabis he had taken a few days earlier.
Swansea Crown Court heard the 66-year-old driver Skidmore assaulted – who had been driving her off-duty police officer daughter at the time – had been left feeling “really shaken up and sick” by the shocking events of the day. Read more: Gangster rapper tried to firebomb rival – but ended up setting fire to the wrong house Dean Pulling, prosecuting, said on the morning of December 14 last year Skidmore set off in his Vauxhall Astra from his home in Warwickshire with his young son.
By 2pm the defendant was in Carmarthen. The court heard that as 39-year-old Skidmore approached the A48 Pensarn roundabout on the outskirts of the town he shunted into the back of patient transport ambulance which was coming to a stop at the traffic lights. The prosecutor said the driver of the ambulance looked in his mirrors and saw an Astra reversing away before overtaking him at speed and entering the roundabout.
When the lights turned green the ambulance turned right at the roundabout heading for Glangwili Hospital and at the next roundabout, known locally as the PC World roundabout, encountered the Astra again – this time the Vauxhall had crashed across the middle of the raised roundabout and collided heavily with shrubs and a black and white chevron warning sign. Mr Pulling said witnesses to this second incident recalled seeing the Astra approaching the roundabout at speed before driving straight over the large traffic island, crashing into the metal sign, and spinning around. The car suffered “massive front-end damage” as well as rear damage in the smash.
The driver of the Astra was then seen to remove a child from the wrecked vehicle and try to get into a number of stationary cars at the roundabout before running towards a Mercedes car which had stopped at the scene – in the Merc was a 66-year-old woman and her off-duty police officer daughter. The court heard a bleeding Skidmore opened the driver’s door of the Mercedes and began shouting at the driver to “Get out of the f****** car! Get out of the f****** car!” while trying to drag her from the vehicle.
As he shouted, the defendant spat blood over the driver’s face and coat. The woman was so terrified at what was going on that she told her assailant to get into the back of the car. Mr Pulling said Skidmore was only prevented from dragging the woman out of the Mercedes by other motorists who had stopped to assist.
The defendant was restrained by the witnesses and by the victim’s daughter who had alighted from the car to help.
(Image: Dyfed-Powys Police)
The police were called, and were soon on the scene. Skidmore told officers he believed he had the symptoms of poisoning and that he had wanted to see a doctor so decided to get in his car and drive from Warwickshire to Wales as he felt that his life was at risk. He said he thought someone was trying to hurt him but couldn’t give reason or provide any details.
Skidmore admitted going into the back of the ambulance and driving off and then crashing into the roundabout as “his head had gone”. Read about a driver who had taken 20 Valium tablets before being seen “drifting” from lane to lane on M4 and crashing into the central reservation. Because of the significant collision they had been involved in the defendant and his son were taken to Glangwilli Hospital to be checked over – the child had sustained no injuries while the defendant sustained an injury to his nose.
After receiving treatment the defendant was arrested at just before 10pm and taken to Ammanford police station. The court heard Skidmore was given a mental health assessment and was deemed fit to be detained. He subsequently gave a “no comment” interview before being released under investigation.
Mr Pulling said the defendant’s car was later examined and no obvious defects were found save for the rear brakes which were inoperative with the calliper having seized. In an impact statement which was read to the court, the driver of the Mercedes said she had been “petrified” during the incident and been left feeling “really shaken up and sick”. She said her face, glasses, and coat had the defendant’s blood on them, and she had thrown the GBP200 coat away as a result.
Stephen Skidmore, of Mill Crescent, Kineton, Warwickshire, had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, and assault by beating when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has no previous convictions. Kate Williams, for Skidmore, said the events of the day were out of character for the self-employed roofer who felt embarrassment and shame at what he had done.
She said the minor collision with the ambulance could probably have been dealt with via an exchange of insurance details, and acknowledged the court would be concerned that the defendant had instead driven off at speed and been involved in a second incident a short distance away. She said there was no obvious explanation for what happened on the day in question but said Skidmore accepted he had smoked cannabis a few days prior to the incident and it seems he had a “very bad reaction” to the drug. Recorder Aidan Eardley said it was still unclear why Skidmore had undertaken the 170-mile journey to west Wales, and it very concerning that there was no coherent explanation for what happened on December 14.
With a one-third discount for his guilty pleas Skidmore was sentenced to a total of 21 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months, and was ordered to complete 60 hours of unpaid work and to do a rehabilitation course.
He was ordered to pay the driver of the Mercedes GBP200 in compensation, and was banned from driving for 12 months – he must pass an extended test before he can get his licence back.
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