Defendant who deliberately drove at son escapes prison

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A MAN deliberately drove onto the pavement at his son – throwing him onto the bonnet and then to the floor – following a family argument, a court has been told.

But despite a previous conviction for driving his car into someone, former soldier Robert Hodgson escaped being jailed when he appeared to be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court last Wednesday.

Instead he was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving outside his son’s home.

Hodgson, 52, of St Mary’s Way, Boston, was also made subject to two years supervision and was banned from driving for two years.

Prosecutor Kevin Saunders said that in April last year a family altercation became exacerbated following a funeral Hodgson and his children attended in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

An argument developed outside his son Christopher Hodgson’s home in Sorrell Road, Nuneaton, between the defendant and his other son Nathan and his daughter Emma.

He said: “It culminated in the defendant threatening to strike Nathan, telling him ‘I’ll knock you out’.”

Annoyed and embarrassed by his father’s behaviour, Christopher told him: “I’ve only lived here for two weeks, and all the neighbours are outside.” He then swore at him telling him to leave.

Hodgson got into his car, but instead of driving away, he mounted the kerb with all four wheels and drove straight at Christopher, striking him and throwing him up onto the bonnet before he then fell to the ground.

As a result Christopher had abrasions to his left foot, and he said his whole body ached as a result of being hit and landing on the ground.

When he was arrested Hodgson, who had old convictions for wounding and assault and one for common assault in 2008 when he pushed another motorist during an argument and then drove his car into him, said there had been an altercation, but denied any knowledge of striking his son with the car, added Mr Saunders.

Judge Marten Coates commented: “I can’t understand why there isn’t a charge of violence.”

Mr Saunders said it was considered by the lawyer who reviewed the case that dangerous driving reflected what had happened, but the judge remarked: “I entirely disagree. He drove deliberately at his son and caused injury.”

Jasvir Mann, defending, said there were psychiatric reports on Hodgson, who had been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ‘for quite some time’ as a result of experiences when he had been in the Army.

And asking for any sentence to be suspended, he said: “This man is simply not equipped to deal with incarceration. It will only make his position worse.

“He is not working because of the problems the doctor talks about, and his wife is not able to work because she is his primary carer. They have significant debts of around £40,000.”

Judge Coates responded: “This case merits immediate custody. The only thing I have to consider is the medical aspect.”

But, after adjourning to study the medical reports, he told Hodgson: “What you did was extremely serious, and you are fortunate not to have been facing a more serious offence.

“If you get into a car having had an argument with a member of the family and get all four wheels on the pavement and drive at them, you should expect to be jailed.

“But I can’t send you to prison at the moment because you are too ill. For that reason, and that reason only, I will pass a suspended sentence on you.”