Raging wedding guest who twice drove over his step mother told by a judge he was 'very lucky' she was not killed

A drunken wedding guest caused his step mother "appalling" injuries when he drove at her three times in the car park of a luxury hotel after trouble flared at a reception.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 5:20 pm
Ben Ashman

Ben Ashman "lost control of his temper" after his girlfriend objected to the way she had been looked at by a fellow guest during the family celebration at the Bowburn Hotel in County Durham.

The 37-year-old was asked to leave the venue after he confronted the man, and then attacked the guest's brother, who had tried to intervene.

Ashman next began to argue with one of his step brothers and the violence spilled out into the car park over the night of August 23 and 24 last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The incident is said to have taken place at Bowburn Hall Hotel, near Durham. Image by Google Maps.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Ashman's step-mother Kathryn Ashman, in her 50s, had heard the commotion from her hotel bedroom and came down in her dressing gown to see what was happening.

She got into a fracas with Ashman's girlfriend who launched an attack on her step-mother Kathryn, pulling her onto the ground.

The defendant then yelled "if you touch my lass again I will ******* kill you", before adding: "I will splat everyone here."

When Ashman's step-brother Kyle tried to intervene, he punched him twice, knocking him to the floor, where he continued to attack him.

The violence was witnessed by the bride Amy, who had married Ashman's step brother Connor, and she called Ashman's girlfriend's close friend Jodie Young to try and calm the situation down.

But without warning Ashman came over and punched Ms Young to the right side of the head and she was knocked onto the floor.

Prosecuting, Jolyon Perks, said: "When she was able to look up she saw the defendant and his girlfriend getting into his Vauxhall four wheel drive.

"A number of people tried to stop the defendant from driving away because he was so obviously so drunk."

Ms Young tried to take the keys from Ashman's hands but he trapped her arm in the door, causing it to be injured.

Kyle then picked up a large, painted rock from the car park and threw it at the driver's windscreen, causing it to shatter, but not penetrate, the glass.

Despite this Ashman began driving at "excessive speed" towards the people standing around, before deliberately targeting Kyle.

Kyle was so terrified he tried to shield himself by hiding behind Ms Young Nissan Juke, which Ashman then smashed into, pushing it out of the way and causing it "considerable damage".

It was at this point that Ashman reversed his vehicle out of the car park and towards people, when he hit his step mother Kathryn.

He then stopped his car and reversed over her, pulling her along underneath the vehicle.

Next, Ashman drove forward, causing the wheels to run over Kathryn for a second time, leaving her bleeding on the ground.

He was later arrested at Bradbury Service Station after driving south along the A1.

The court heard how the victim suffered horrendous injuries including six broken ribs, numbness to her left cheek and two fractured eye sockets.

She also sustained significant damage to her right forearm, blurred vision, tyre marks on her right upper back and had to spend ten days in hospital.

In her victim personal statement she described how she struggles to drink and eat certain foods due to nerve damage, which she expects to be permanent.

She also suffers from anxiety, and her ability to work has been compromised as she can't drive distances.

Ashman, of Sunderland Street, Houghton, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, common assault, attempting to cause GBH, dangerous driving and criminal damage.

Sentencing him to six years in prison, Judge Robert Adams said: "This was out of character and you genuinely and properly accept responsibility for what you have done.

"In interview you said you had not realised you had run over Kathryn Ashman.

"The injuries suffered by her were appalling. You are very lucky ... she was not more seriously injured or fatally.

"This was dangerous driving by you in what can only be described as a rage."

Defending, Lewis Kerr told the court Ashman, who suffered for mental health problems including ADHD and a personality disorder, has shown "remorse and sorrow and anguish" over what took place.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.