14-month sentence after parking row left man ‘disabled for life’

PUBLISHED: 08:05 01 July 2015

Peter Cox who had life-changing injuries after being hit  by car  in West Street, Weston.

Peter Cox who had life-changing injuries after being hit by car in West Street, Weston.

Archant

A MAN who died four times in hospital and is ‘disabled for life’ has hit out at the ‘disgusting’ 14-month jail term given to the man who ran him over in a row over a parking space.

Peter Cox suffered 'life-changing' injuries as a result of the incident.Peter Cox suffered 'life-changing' injuries as a result of the incident.

The incident in Weston’s West Street left 54-year-old Peter Cox with ‘life-changing injuries’ and driver John Crowley, aged 45, with a prison sentence – and a ‘huge part’ of his nose missing.

The row took place on November 30 last year and left Peter with two collapsed lungs and broken ribs, and meant surgeons had to remove his spleen and rebuild his shoulder.

He spent four months in hospital and now his bones are producing too much calcium, which causes them to thicken and means he faces further surgery.

Crowley, of Spring Hill, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on June 19.

However, Peter and his family say the sentence is ‘disgraceful’ in the wake of injuries which have left him ‘unable to do anything’.

He said: “I think it’s disgusting he got 14 months; I’m disabled for life.

“I died four times in hospital. It’s lucky I pulled through, my surgeon said it’s a miracle.

“I haven’t got any stomach muscles where they removed my spleen and I can’t get in and out of bed, I’m still sleeping in a hospital bed.”

Peter and his partner, Donna Allen, have a son, Craig, three grandsons and one granddaughter, but Peter says his injuries have affected family life.

Peter said: “I can’t do anything now, I can’t lift my grandson up, I can’t take him out.”

The row began when Crowley tried to park his classic Mercedes in a space outside Craig’s legal high store, Buzzin.

A Robin Reliant had just left the space and Peter was guarding it for his son to use.

In the fracas which followed, Peter Cox was knocked to the ground by Crowley’s car before Craig attacked Crowley, biting off a ‘huge part’ of his nose. That, in turn, is said to have caused Crowley to lose control of the car and cause more serious injuries to Peter Cox.

Sentencing Judge Martin Picton said: “Mr Cox sustained serious and life-changing injuries.

“It is understandable he and his family will regard those injuries as being the responsibility of this defendant, but the sentence I have to impose cannot be predicated on that basis.

“There came a stage whereby the severe nature on the attack to which the defendant was subject meant he stopped being criminally responsible for the movement of the car.”

Prosecuting, James Ward, said it remains unclear how the initial impact occurred between the Mercedes and Mr Cox, but Craig had seen the incident and tried to seize the car keys from Crowley to prevent the vehicle doing further damage.

Mr Ward said: “The attack then increases on Crowley, the car reverses because the defendant is trying to get away from the attack, or because he is flailing around in the car.

“(The car) reverses back over Mr Cox again. The car then spits Mr Cox out into the gutter.”

Mr Ward highlighted injuries sustained by Crowley in the attack, and said: “Mr Cox junior has bitten Crowley’s nose to stop his father being run over any more.

“It is obvious there is a huge part of his nose missing.”

Peter’s injuries were so severe, his family feared he would not survive.

Donna said: “He lay in the hospital bed, expected to die, for weeks and weeks. He just didn’t move.

“We just didn’t know if he was going to survive. Our poor son as well, for Craig to have to see it happening.

“We didn’t know if he was going to wake up a vegetable. I was just sat there crying all the time.

“How could a human being die four times and have his whole body messed up, and for what?”

The court was told the incident had impacted on Crowley’s mental health, too.

Mitigating, Rebecca Bradbury, said: “He has been extremely anxious over the effects of this court case and obviously the injuries he sustained, the trauma that he had and knowing he and his vehicle had some impact on the dramatic injuries to Mr Cox.

“He is a man whose mental health is teetering on the edge.”

In jailing Crowley, and banning him from driving for three years, Judge Picton said: “The defendant by his plea accepts the manner of his driving fell far below the standard expected of a reasonably competent motorist.

“The defendant failed to exercise proper and careful use of the brake pedal so as to ensure he retained control of his vehicle.”

The injuries sustained by Crowley was investigated by police but no charges were brought.

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