Hit-and-run Charmouth driver found guilty of deliberately mowing down pedestrian outside pub

PUBLISHED: 17:27 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 24 October 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

Hit-and-run Charmouth driver found guilty of deliberately mowing down pedestrian outside pub

A hit-and-run driver is facing a long jail sentence after being found guilty of deliberately running over a pedestrian who tried to stop him speeding.

Connor Lee was angry that pub customer Stuart Dixon had spat at his car as he sped past the Red Lion in Axminster and returned to confront him.

Lee appeared at Exeter Crown Court on October 24.

The court heard how Lee left Mr Dixon with severe lower leg injuries after he ran his front offside wheel over him as he walked around the car towards the driver's window.

CCTV showed Lee looking at Mr Dixon and deliberately turning the wheel of his Hyundai car so that it hit him as it moved off. He looked out of his window at the injured man before reversing around his body on the road and speeding off.

A pub customer who went outside to see what was happening heard Lee say 'I'm going to do him' before he drove at Mr Dixon. Lee, who had three passengers in the car, dropped them off before using a can full of petrol to set light to the car underneath a block of flats in Harbour Road, Seaton.

He was hoping to destroy the evidence but police were able to trace him through eye-witnesses and the CCTV.

The incident happened outside the Red Lion pub in Lyme Road, Axminster at 7.40pm on May 11 this year when Mr Dixon had just finishing watching the European Rugby Cup Final and went into the street for a cigarette.

He saw Lee's red Hyundai car drive past and spat at it because he thought it was speeding.

Lee turned around and returned to the pub where he pulled up outside.

CCTV showed Mr Dixon exchanging words with Lee through the passenger window before walking around the front of the car to approach the driver's door. He got just past the bumper before the car moved off sharply, hitting him as it pulled away.

Mr Dixon suffered a shattered lower right leg, and a dislocated left ankle, spent three weeks in hospital and is still on crutches and unable to return to work five months later.

Lee, aged 19, of Wellesley Road, Charmouth, denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

He admitted arson, being reckless whether life was endangered and driving without insurance.

Judge David Evans remanded him in custody and told him that a lengthy jail sentence is inevitable because both the assault and the arson are very serious offences.

He told him: "You have been convicted on the plainest possible CCTV evidence which showed that you caused that very serious injury to Mr Dixon with intent to do so.

"It seems to me your intent was shown clearly from the way in which you turned the wheel and deliberately drove your car into a defenceless human being.

"I will sentence on the basis that you only formed the intent at the moment you spun the wheel. You must understand you will receive a lengthy sentence."

The judge also told the jury about the arson offence.

He said: "A couple of hours after this incident Lee drove into a car park under a block of flats in Seaton, which was away from Axminster and from his home town of Bridport.

"He left and bought a can of petrol, and used it to torch the vehicle, thus endangering the lives of people in the flats.

"I shall need a pre-sentence report because he is 19 and has no previous convictions. Of course, this conviction, and the equally serious offence of arson means a sentence of a significant term in a young offenders' institution is inevitable.

Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said Lee had used the car as a weapon in the attack.

He said he would be applying for a driving ban when sentence is passed in December.

Lee denied intending to harm Mr Dixon and said he had downed four shots of vodka before driving but was not drunk.

He said the whole incident happened so quickly he did not have time to form any kind of intention.

He said: "I did not realise how far I had gone by the time my foot came off the throttle and went on the brake. I did not realise what was happening, I was an inexperienced driver.

"I was not annoyed or angry. I never said that I was going to do him. I don't know why I drove away.

"I just thought I had bumped him and he had fallen over.

"I did not see him on the floor. I did not realise he was hurt. I panicked and drove off. I don't know why I didn't stop to help him.

"I feel bad about it now. I'm sorry for running him over. I didn't mean to hurt him."

Most Read

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Most Read

Latest from the Midweek Herald

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists