Fine for driver who caused garden havoc

First published in Crime

A PROPERTY developer who ploughed through a family’s garden in his flash sports car which he was driving at speed has been fined by a court.

James O’Brien drove his black Audi Quattro R8 twice through Awbridge near Romsey before it left the road and smashed through a shed, hedge and fence leaving children’s toys strewn in its wake.

Southampton Magistrates Court heard that 37-year-old O’Brien, of Newtown Road, had driven at high speed through the Hampshire village because he thought he had left his wallet in a pub which he had been to earlier that evening.

On his way back he again was driving at a high speed – though it is not certain how fast he was going. The car he was driving came off Carters Clay Road and across the back lawn of Andrew and Paula Rigby’s house at 1am on September 4.

Neighbours came out of their houses to see what had happened.

At the time of the incident Mr and Mrs Rigby told how they were asleep with their children, Wilson, 3, and Fay, 1, in their house on the corner of Newtown Road. Mrs Rigby, 34, dashed outside to find the car, which had come to rest near their driveway, but it was empty.

She said: “I heard a bang, it was not particularly loud. I thought it was the kids then I heard voices, looked out and there was a car in the garden.

“I was shocked. It took a while to sink in what had happened.

I was very upset because it was all the kids’ things.

“They could have been killed if it was in the day, if they were in the garden – their toys are all trashed.”

The hedge had been moved about 15 metres by the car while tyre marks and her children’s toys including trikes and plastic skittles were scattered everywhere.

Mitigating for O’Brien, who admitted driving without due care and attention, Jane Hemmings said he left the scene but later returned and spoke to police.

He was ordered to pay a £465 fine, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15. He was also given six points on his licence.

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