Raging Blackpool man jailed after van attack

Phillip Hodgkinson
Phillip Hodgkinson

Horrified neighbours tried to intervene as a spurned father repeatedly smashed a van into a fence at his girlfriend’s mum’s home.

Preston Crown Court heard how Phillip Hodgkinson, 22, had turned up at a house in Elgin Place, Grange Park, on June 26 after his girlfriend left him and went to stay with her mother.

Several neighbours went out to try and stop what was happening – but as one good Samaritan leaned through the van window, raging Hodgkinson pulled away with the man hanging partly out of the window.

Moments later the provisional licence holder of Victory Road, Blackpool, collided with a car and a telegraph pole.

He was jailed for 10 months after admitting dangerous driving, failing to stop, criminal damage to the fence, and driving without a licence or insurance, Hanifa Patel, prosecuting, said he had been in a relationship with his victim for seven years and they had two children.

She added: “The day before the offence there was a domestic dispute resulting in the victim leaving her home address. She left the defendant and went to her mothers.

“It was just before midnight on Sunday, June 25. The victim was upstairs in the front bedroom when she heard a car horn beeping outside. She looked and saw him sat in a van. Because of this she went downstairs. The defendant got out of the van and they spoke, and he asked for cigarettes. She believed he was drunk.

“She went back into the house and her phone started ringing. He told her she needed to get their daughter and get into the van or he was going to ‘drive through the house’.”

The court heard neighbours were woken by the disturbance and one saw him start to drive backwards and forwards, smashing the fence.

He and another resident went out to intervene. Miss Patel added: “The other neighbour tried to grab the steering wheel and as he did this he drove his van forward. It smashed into a car and head on into a telegraph pole.”

Hodgkinson fled the scene but handed himself in at a police station later.

In an interview he called the neighbours “idiots” who did not want him to see his children.

Defending, Tom Lord, said Hodgkinson had moved away from the area and hoped his sentence could be suspended so he could take up employment as a mechanic.

He told the court the offences were committed after a backdrop of the couple suffering two miscarriages, and he didn’t have the emotional skills to deal with what was happening.

But Recorder Gary Woodall said only an immediate custodial term was justified.

He said: “When you didn’t get what you wanted you drove through the fence panels and towards the front door – it’s described as almost touching it.

“One of those did so by leaning through the window, but you were not deterred and you continued to drive away with that man hanging out of the window.

“At the time of that piece of dangerous driving you only had a provisional licence and no insurance.”

He also imposed a 23 month road ban and an extended retest.

His sentence

Hodgkinson was jailed for 10 months after admitting dangerous driving, failing to stop, damage to the fence, and no licence or insurance.