'Your appalling driving caused undoubted terror' – Irate driver from Stevenage jailed for repeatedly ramming pregnant mum's car on A602 near Hitchin
PUBLISHED: 08:02 18 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:37 18 February 2017
An irate driver from Stevenage who deliberately rammed a pregnant mum’s car three times on the A602 into Hitchin was yesterday jailed.
Paul Fowell, of Alexander Gate – who is registered disabled – was told by a judge: “Your appalling driving caused undoubted terror to the lady in question, who was pregnant and had her baby daughter with her.”
Judge Philip Bartle QC, passing sentence at Luton Crown Court, said the case was so serious he was unable to suspend the jail term, despite 46-year-old Fowell’s physical difficulties and lack of previous motoring convictions.
Fowell – who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving – was jailed for 15 months and given a three-year driving ban, to start when he is released from custody.
Prosecutor Wayne Cleaver said the incident happened on October 30, 2015, on the outskirts of Hitchin, where the A602 dual carriageway ends and traffic merges into one lane.
The woman was driving a VW Polo with her 10-month-old daughter strapped into a car seat, and was in the early stages of pregnancy.
Fowell was in a Vauxhall Frontera with a woman passenger, Mr Cleaver said.
“She had changed lanes and then became aware of a car being driven very close to the rear of her car, flashing his lights and making hand gestures towards her,” said the prosecutor.
“She tried to concentrate on her driving, but he pulled out so that he was level with her and rammed the offside of her car while they were both moving.
“Then he pulled away slightly and rammed her a second time.
“She was both shocked and frightened, and decided to pull onto the hard shoulder and check on the safety of her daughter.”
The court was then told that she noticed Fowell had stopped further up the road – and when she drove past he pulled out and followed her again, beeping his horn and flashing his lights.
At the Three Moorhens roundabout in Hitchin, he pulled up on her nearside and deliberately rammed the car again before driving off.
Another motorist, who witnessed the events, went to the mother’s aid and followed behind her as she drove to her home in Hitchin in case there were further problems.
Police were alerted and given the licence plate number of Fowell’s car.
When arrested, he claimed the woman had cut him up and that as he braked sharply, his brakes locked and he crashed into her unintentionally.
He also said he had stopped his car so they could exchange details.
Almost a year after the events, the woman told police that she still did not feel safe driving.
Sean Sullivan, defending Fowell, admitted to the court that the defendant’s driving had been ‘cretinous’.
He said: “It was cretinous driving and the only question is whether the prison sentence should be immediate or can be suspended.
“He is registered disabled and his mobility is extremely limited. His wife is his registered carer but he leads a rather miserable existance.
”I invite some mercy for him as life in prison will be incredibly hard for him, and the inevitable driving ban will be very punitive.”