Driver who ‘used car as a weapon’ in revenge attack jailed for 18 years
PUBLISHED: 17:13 17 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:13 17 November 2020
A 32-year-old Ipswich man “with a bruised ego” who deliberately drove at a group of men on a pavement - leaving one of them with “catastrophic” head injuries - has been jailed for 18 years.
Sentencing father-of-two Thomas Broughton, Judge Martyn Levett said he had used his car as a weapon in revenge for an earlier incident outside the Water Lily pub in Ipswich, which had left him feeling humiliated.
“You used your car as a weapon with the intention of causing serious injury to those you perceived responsible for humiliating you,” said the judge.
He said that Broughton, who he described as having a “bruised ego”, had taken cocaine and consumed alcohol during the evening, before mounting the kerb and deliberately mowing down the men - and causing “catastrophic” head injuries to one of them.
Broughton, of Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, was cleared after a trial of three offences of attempted murder but was convicted of one offence of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, as well as two offences of attempted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
He was also found guilty of dangerous driving. He had denied all the charges.
In addition to being jailed, he was banned from driving for 16 years and four months. He will have to serve 12 years of the sentence.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, victim Shaun Littlewood’s wife described the devastating effect the collision had had on her family and said their lives would “never be the same”.
Sarah Littlewood said that before being mown down by Broughton, her husband was outgoing with a large personality and was someone who always lived life to the full.
He had worked at Felixstowe Docks for 21 years, where he was well liked and respected.
During the Thursday night clap for frontline workers during lockdown, her husband’s colleagues had clapped for him as well as NHS staff.
As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, she said her husband had spent five and a half months in hospital without a single visit from his family and not knowing what was really going on.
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“He woke from a coma seeing medical staff dressed fully in PPE. Can you imagine waking up to that totally alone?” she said.
Mrs Littlewood said she had stopped work to support her husband and their two children and her husband’s father had all suffered because of what happened.
As a result of the collision, she said her husband had been left with limited mobility on his left-hand side and had problems with his memory.
Nearly eight months on, he was now able to walk and eat independently slowly - but had been left with feelings of frustration.
“It’s going to be a very long and emotional recovery for Shaun,” she said.
“I just hope in time he will return back to work and to the independent life he once had before it was ripped away from him,” said Mrs Littlewood.
The court heard that as a result of the late night collision in St Helen’s Street in March, Ashley Green, another member of the group, was struck by Broughton’s Audi A3 on the pavement and spent several days in hospital receiving treatment for his injuries.
A third victim, Brandon Mann, was clipped by the car and received an injury to his leg which didn’t require hospital treatment.
During Broughton’s trial, it was claimed he had deliberately driven his car at the men’s group in revenge for an altercation which happened in the street a few moments earlier outside the Water Lily pub in St Helen’s Street.
Giving evidence, Broughton claimed he had been verbally abused by a man before being set upon by at least three men as he left the pub.
However, he denied deliberately driving at the group in revenge for that incident.
Jeremy Benson QC, for Broughton, said his client had come across the group of men by chance in his way home and had not gone looking for them.
He said there had been some violence towards Broughton during the earlier incident outside the pub.
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