Car terror after furious partner ‘grabbed wheel’

York Crown Court

York Crown Court

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A terrified woman driver thought she was going to be killed when her raging partner grabbed hold of the steering wheel, causing a smash which left her car a crumpled mess.

Against all odds, the woman suffered only a broken finger and her partner Andrew Jackson, 39, escaped relatively unharmed.

Jackson, an ex-soldier from Bridlington, was travelling in the front-passenger seat when he suddenly grabbed hold of the steering wheel and pulled it down to the left, causing the vehicle to lose control and career off the road into a grass verge.

York Crown Court heard that the warring couple had been driving back from a trip to Primrose Valley in Filey when the crash occurred near Cloughton on May 24 last year.

They had hoped the trip would heal their turbulent three-year relationship, but things turned sour at the east-coast resort due to Jackson’s drinking.

The victim, sick of Jackson’s booze-fuelled rants, decided to cut the holiday short and return home.

Prosecuting barrister Rachel Landin said that on the drive home, Jackson began arguing with his partner and threw a ring binder containing her work notes out of the window. He then grabbed her suitcase and, fearing he was about to chuck that out of the window too, she locked all the doors and windows.

“Jackson became angry and reached across her (in an attempt) to unlock the doors and windows,” added Ms Landin.

“He then grabbed hold of the steering wheel and pulled it to the left. Two people in the car behind saw the vehicle twitching quickly from side to side. This caused the victim to lose control of the car. The vehicle was moving towards some trees and crashed into a grass verge.”

A male motorist stopped to help and pulled Jackson out of the mangled wreck, only to be met with aggression from the former military man.

“He (Jackson) was smirking and laughing about the incident,” said Ms Landin. “The victim was extremely frightened and when (Jackson) grabbed hold of the steering wheel she thought she might die.”

Jackson, of Fairfield Road, was arrested and charged with dangerously interfering with a vehicle in transit. He was remanded in custody and appeared for sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to the offence.

Defence barrister Ben Campbell said that Jackson - who has a previous conviction for drink-driving - had turned to alcohol to cope with post-traumatic stress stemming from his army days when he was deployed abroad.

Judge Colin Burn said he did not believe that Jackson was deliberately trying to cause the car to crash but added that it could easily have ended in tragedy.

“It is quite obvious that you - like so many other (former soldiers), particularly those who served in the Balkans - have suffered some quite significant mental-health problems,” he added.

Jackson was given an 18-month community order and 10-day activity programme to address his alcohol and mental-health issues. He was also ordered to pay his former partner £200 compensation for her broken finger.