A man has received a suspended sentence at Chelmsford magistrates court after he ran over an associate in a pub car park while driving with drugs in his system.
Samuel Sweetlove, 29, ran over the man while he was reversing out of the Black Bull pub in Margaretting at around 9.30pm on July 15.
The victim, identified only as Mr Cooper, had approached Sweetlove’s car and was holding on to it as it was moving. The driver did not stop and only came to a halt when Cooper fell under the wheels.
Sweetlove was tested for drugs and alcohol when police arrived, returning a negative result for alcohol but positive for Benzoylecgonine, the by-product of cocaine produced by the body, and MDMA.
During his interview with police officers, Sweetlove said he was not driving in excess of 20mph, and that there was no malice or aggression during the incident.
“He kept holding on and started running with it, I couldn’t have been going very fast.
“I felt a bump under my back wheel and I stopped right away.”
The 30-year-old victim was airlifted to hospital and spent time in the high-dependency unit, and left the hospital at the end of August. He suffered bleeding and bruising to the brain as well as a number of fractures. He still has memory recall problems.
Mr Cooper is now supported by his parents as due to his injuries he is unable to work with the heavy machinery on the farm where he worked. He has also had to give up his flat.
In the pre-sentence report, compiled by the probation service, Sweetlove admitted to taking cocaine on the night before the incident, but not on the night itself, and denied knowingly taking MDMA.
“He can’t understand why the MDMA was in his system unless it was cut as part of the mix – he doesn’t use MDMA,” said the probation officer.
“He had also had some drinks that day too.
“His current situation is he’s living with his partner and her two children.”
Sweet love also admitted to using a £50 bag of cocaine once a month for the last seven years. He has worked as a driver for a garage for the last two years and also has several other criminal convictions, including driving offences.
It was noted by the court that Sweetlove took responsibility for the incident, and that he had a “10/10 intention to stop using drugs for a ‘better quality of life’.”
Mrs Sheena Collins, chairing the bench, said: “This was a horrible, horrible incident and it’s left a lot of lives shattered.
“We have heard about the degree of harm it caused.
“The incident was of a short duration.”
Sweetlove pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and two counts of drug-driving. Magistrates sentenced him to 12 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months, as well as banned from the roads for three years and ordered to complete 120 hours unpaid work, plus undertake drug rehabilitation.
No compensation was awarded to Mr Cooper due to ongoing civil proceedings, but Sweetlove was ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
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