Worle man run over in long-running feud over fake £10

PUBLISHED: 09:00 15 September 2013

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A WESTON man has been jailed for three years after deliberately running over a man in Worle following a long-running dispute which began over a £10 note.

Richard Harling, aged 45, of Orchard Close in Kewstoke, pleaded guilty to inflicting actual bodily harm with intent and dangerous driving.

North Somerset Courthouse heard the incident was the result of an ongoing feud with David Purkiss, which had begun over claims that Mr Purkiss gave the defendant a counterfeit £10 note.

On April 10, Harling was paying for a chocolate milkshake at Sainsbury’s in Worle when Mr Purkiss punched him in the face. The impact was hard enough to send Harling to the floor, damaging his hand in the process.

Mr Purkiss left the store and told Robert Lockwood, a security guard at the store, he wanted to continue the confrontation, to ‘finish it once and for all’.

Laura Dando, who was with the defendant at the time, told the court Harling said through gritted teeth “I’m going to run the ****** over.” She described him as having a ‘crazy’ look in his eyes.

Mr Purkiss waited for Harling by the nearby Parish Pump pub, as the pair had agreed, but the defendant drove into Mr Purkiss, sending him into the air.

The defendant carried on driving. A passer-by stopped and tried to help Mr Purkiss, who said not to call the police as he knew who it was and he would ‘sort it out himself’.

Mr Purkiss went to hospital and was found to have soft tissue damage to his knees and legs, but no fractures or swelling. The police visited Harling at 1.45pm the same day.

Anna Vigars, mitigating, said: “Mr Purkiss was the aggressor on the day, and he attacked Mr Harling out of the blue.

“Mr Harling is a man of previous good character. Up until the age of 35, he was the kind of person you would welcome as a member of any community.

“He was hard-working, ambitious, loyal to those who employed him.”

The change in his character was blamed on an attack in a pub 10 years ago, where Harling was set upon by two men and hit over the head with a pool cue.

Ms Vigars said: “As a result of that incident of entirely unprovoked violence, his life tragically fell apart.

“By the time last autumn came around, he had lost his home, lost any employment, lost his self-respect and self-esteem, and regularly indulged in drugs.”

She said Harling had been wrong to react. She said: “Mr Purkiss was the aggressor. It makes more understandable what happened as it was a sudden loss of temper and rational thought.”

Judge Neil Ford said: “Mr Harling was a man of positive good character and a model citizen until the age he was attacked, and that attack has had a grave psychological effect which would last.

“His life became an unsatisfactory one, the issues which caused it were significantly unaddressed.”

Harling was sentenced to three years in prison for actual bodily harm, and 18 months for dangerous driving, to run concurrently.

Harling was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.

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