Drug abuser threw himself on windscreen of off-duty cop’s car to ‘kill himself’

Gavin Lee leaving Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
Gavin Lee leaving Sunderland Magistrates' Court.
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A man who launched himself through the windscreen of a car to “kill himself” ended up in court on a criminal damage charge.

Gavin Lee, 26, caused £1,350 worth of damage to off-duty policeman David Young’s silver Mercedes when he jumped into its path as the officer was on his way to work on the morning of June 8.

I feel sorry for him. I didn’t realise he was a police officer.

Gavin Lee

Sunderland magistrates heard Lee had been planning to jump in front of a truck but when none appeared, he emerged from bushes on Southwick Green and ploughed into the car.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said Mr Young was heading towards Southwick Police Station when he saw Lee acting suspiciously next to the war memorial.

He said: “As he approached the area, he slowed the vehicle down.

“He stepped off the path and jumped from the front nearside of the vehicle directly onto the windscreen. He was shouting ‘I’m sorry’. He was clearly drunk.

“The car was doing 15 to 20mph at the time.”

Mr Young told Lee he was on his way to work, before detaining him.

The car was left with a large scuff and dent to his bonnet and the windscreen was shattered.

After his arrest Lee was found to have drugs on him, which he said was cocaine.

Mr Anderson added: “However, lab tests confirmed this was actually amphetamine.”

The court heard that, in his interview with police, he told officers how he ran in front of the car and the driver got out of the car. He said he had been to the shop to get beer and had ‘a little drink’.

Mr Anderson said: “He had seen trucks go past and he intended to jump in front of one. He confirmed he didn’t know whose the car was or who the driver was.”

The court heard Lee then told police: “I wanted to kill myself. I feel sorry for him. I didn’t realise he was a police officer.”

He said he had bought the drugs for £50, adding that he had been taking drugs since the age of 12.

Lee, of Tollerton Drive Castletown, Sunderland admitted criminal damage and possession of a Class A drug.

Ian Jordan, defending, said Lee has no previous convictions, despite having taken drugs since he was 12.

“At the time he was living in Southwick,” Mr Jordan said.

“He had argued with his girlfriend and had taken diazepam and alcohol all through the night and had left the property in a low mood and was walking down Southwick Green.

“He saw a car going past. It just so happened that it was a police officer on his way to work at Southwick Police Station.”

Lee was sentenced to a 12-month community order with nine months of drug rehabilitation and 20 days specified activity.

He was also given a 28-day curfew from 6pm until 6am and was told to pay the police officer’s insurance excess at £425, along with a £180 criminal courts charge at a rate of £5 per week.