Whimple man admits harassing off-duty cop after using his car to play chicken

PUBLISHED: 11:35 31 January 2019

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Archant

A villager who used his car to play chicken with an off-duty policeman has been banned from driving and ordered to stay away from the village where he lives.

Connor Charlton repeatedly drove towards his victim in country lanes near his home in Clyst Hydon before veering away at the last moment and making abusive hand gestures.

He also frightened the officer and his young family by driving past his home at crawling pace while continually sounding his horn. Charlton carried out a nine month campaign of harassment that left the officer worried about his safety and that of his family, Exeter Crown Court was told on Tuesday, January 29.

Charlton, aged 20, of Elizabeth Close, Whimple, admitted harassment and his sentence was adjourned until next month by Judge David Evans.

The Judge told Charlton he will impose a driving disqualification and a restraining order at the next hearing and imposed bail conditions which had the same effect. He banned him from contacting the officers or his wife, from entering Clyst Hydon, and from driving.

Charlton admitted a charge which gave details of six different occasions in which he harassed the officer. They were:

• October 18, 2017 when he drove towards the officer’s vehicle before swerving away and making hand gestures;

• October 26, 2017, when he drove at him again, avoiding his vehicle at the last moment and making more gestures;

• February 23, 2018, when he drove at his vehicle and swerved around it, while making gestures.;

• July 27, 2018, when he drove at him and swerved away, causing the officer to brake suddenly;

• The same day, when he drove past the officer’s home while continually sounding his horn;

• July 29, 2018, when he drove at the officer’s car again, causing him to take evasive action, making more hand gestures.

Mr Adrian Chaplin, prosecuting, said the harassment took place over a lengthy period of time and had a serious effect on the victim and his family.

He said: “The complainant was a serving police officer who may to some extent be expected to deal with matters, but when they are this close to home, professional training does not count for much.

“He spoke about being in a state of nervousness that he would be targeted again while driving or walking his dog and was concerned for his wife and family.”

Mr Barry White, defending, said Charlton has already been banned from driving by bail conditions for several months and accepts he must stay away from Clyst Hydon.

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