Bideford man mowed down ex partner and her new boyfriend in his car

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A man deliberately mowed down his ex-partner with his car after seeing her out walking with her new boyfriend.

Joseph Priscott narrowly missed Courtney Hill at his first attempt but turned round and drove at her and new boyfriend Ross Barnett for a second time.

They were walking on a lane on the outskirts of Bideford and he hit her and knocked her over the bonnet into the road, where she lay with a seriously injured leg.

Priscott got out of his Ford car and attacked Mr Barnett, pushing his fingers into his eyes until he feared he would be blinded.

She wrote an impact statement saying she thought Priscott was ‘gunning for her’ and trying to kill her, while Mr Barnett said being driven at was ‘like being in a horror movie and trying to hide from a psycho’.

Bricklayer Priscott, aged 24, of Sentry Corner, Bideford, admitted two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm and one of dangerous driving.

He had previously been found guilty by magistrates of assaulting Miss Hill before they broke up last summer and stalking her for two months afterwards.

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Judge James Patrick adjourned sentence until later in the week so he could have more time to consider whether Priscott should receive an extended sentence as a dangerous offender.

He told him: “This was an escalation which was not measured in a matter of minutes but in a matter of months. This is a troubling case and I have the issue of dangerousness at the forefront of my mind.

“This is very serious offending, as you understand and obviously there will be a restraining order and a disqualification from driving.”

Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said Priscott’s six-year relationship with Miss Hill ended last summer after he attacked her and put his hands around her neck.

He bombarded her with texts for more than a month until he was arrested for stalking.

The next contact was on January 2 this year when she and Mr Barnett were walking on Alverdiscott Road, just outside East-the-Water, and saw Priscott in his white Ford car.

He passed within inches of them as they pressed themselves into the hedge and threw something at Miss Hill from the window as he passed which he later claimed was eggs.

Miss Hill suffered a panic attack and was being comforted by Mr Barnett when they heard music from Priscott’s car stereo and saw him come into view and drive straight at them.

She was hit by the nearside wing and thrown over the bonnet while he was hit by the wing mirror and then attacked after Priscott pulled up.

She was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg actually suffered severe bruising.

Priscott wiped the memory of his dashcam and told police it was an accident. He said when he saw Miss Hill, he ‘went white and the next thing I knew the car clipped her’.

Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Priscott is a hard-working man who thought his future was mapped out when he bought a house with Miss Hill at the age of just 23.

All his dreams were shattered when their relationship broke up and he was left paying a mortgage on a house where he no longer wanted to live. He felt everything was crumbling around him.

He said his behaviour on that day did not make him a danger to the public.

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