Motorist spared jail after injuring driver when he crashed into bridge

Depressed motorist, 33, is spared jail after injuring another driver when he deliberately crashed into a railway bridge in failed attempt to kill himself

  • Christopher Farmer charged with dangerous driving after crash in Arley, Worcs.
  • He bounced his Mitsubishi Colt off a wall into the path of Paul Swatman’s vehicle
  • Emergency services rushed to the scene in October after witnesses dialled 999
  • Mr Swatman suffered chest and back bruising while Farmer was cut from his car
  • Farmer admitted charge and got a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years

Christopher Farmer (pictured), 33, was charged with dangerous driving after he bounced his Mitsubishi Colt off a wall into the path of a vehicle being driven by Paul Swatman

A depressed motorist has been spared jail after injuring another driver when he deliberately crashed into a railway bridge in a failed attempt to kill himself.

Christopher Farmer, 33, was charged with dangerous driving after he bounced his Mitsubishi Colt off a wall into the path of a vehicle being driven by Paul Swatman.

Emergency services rushed to the scene of the collision in Arley, Worcestershire, in October after horrified witnesses rang 999.

Mr Swatman was taken to hospital with extensive bruising to his chest and back while Farmer was cut from his car by firefighters but escaped serious injury.

Farmer admitted the charge at Warwick Crown Court and was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also banned from driving for three years, ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation activity.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Potter said: ‘Just a few weeks ago I sentenced a young lady who drove on a stretch of road very close to where you had your accident and went too fast and came off the road and hit a tree, as you were intending to do.

‘She didn’t kill herself, but she killed one of her friends in the car.

‘That is just one of the cases this court has to deal with with depressing regularity, when people drive in a way which puts not just their lives, but the lives of other people at risk.

‘As Mr Swatman says, he feels very, very lucky – and you can consider yourself very, very lucky that you didn’t kill him.

Farmer admitted the charge at Warwick Crown Court (pictured) and was handed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years

‘Be under no illusion, it was just chance that you were able to walk away from that accident and he also survived. It is frankly remarkable that no one suffered serious injury or death.

‘You of course bear the responsibility for what happened, because you chose, not in a good frame of mind, to drive directly at the bridge with the intention of taking your life.

‘You were thinking not of anyone else. It speaks volumes of his character that when asked about the effect it had had on him, Mr Swatman expressed concern for you.

‘It is quite obvious to me that this is a case that crosses the custody threshold. But there is a great deal to be said for you.

‘You expressed what I believe is genuine remorse, and you have used the time between this incident and today to try to address the issues in your life you believe contributed to what can only be described as a moment of madness.’

Prosecutor Daniel Wright said Mr Swatman had spotted a red Mitsubishi Colt coming towards him on the wrong side of the road.

The Colt, driven by Farmer, of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, swerved past him and headed straight at the nearby railway bridge.

Mr Wright said: ‘He collided with the railway bridge. His car bounced off it, and there was a head-on collision with a Mitsubishi being driven by Paul Swatman.’

The court heard Mr Swatman still wakes up at night re-living the incident, and thinks he was ‘just very lucky’ not to have been killed.

Rachel Pennington, defending, said: ‘The issues that were present at the time are issues the defendant has been able to resolve since this incident.’

She explained that at the time Farmer had various issues arising from his family break-down, his misuse of alcohol and suffering from depression.

Pointing out Farmer had no previous convictions, she said his actions had been ‘extremely out of character.’

She added: ‘He has not driven since that day, and has no desire to drive and has sought help for his alcohol addiction and been referred to the Crisis Team.

‘The defendant is remorseful about the incident and the effect it has had on Mr Swatman.

‘He does not present an ongoing risk or danger to the public.’

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