Driver dragged from car by stranger as three women suffer terrifying rush-hour ordeal in Sunderland

Kayll Road, Sunderland.
Kayll Road, Sunderland.

A driver was dragged from her car as three women suffered a terrifying morning rush-hour ordeal at the hands of a stranger.

Ian McCabe, 33, had been on his way to work when he believes a ‘mental health episode’ caused him to behave in a bizarre manner, Sunderland magistrates heard.

He came towards me holding both hands out towards my neck, saying ‘I want, I want’


Prosecutor Steven Davies said one of the victims had been walking along Hylton Road, at 8.20am on February 28, when her attention was drawn to a male behind her.

Mr Davies said: “She was aware of this male - his facial expression was angry and he had piercing eyes.”

The court heard the woman changed direction several times but McCabe followed her.

Quoting from the woman’s statement, Mr Davies said: “He came towards me holding both hands out towards my neck, saying ‘I want, I want’.”

The woman said in a victim statement: “I felt distraught, I screamed I was so fearful.”

Another victim was driving her car along Hylton Road around the same time, but was stationary due to the amount of traffic.

Mr Davies said: McCabe stepped out in front of her car before trying to prise open the driver’s window and attempting to get in the car.

The court heard traffic started moving and the woman managed to drive off.

The woman said in a victim statement: “I was so shocked this could happen to me in daylight.

“It has left me too frightened to drive and my partner now drives instead.”

The third incident occurred at 8.25am in Kayll Road, when a woman saw McCabe walking towards her car in the middle of the road, forcing her to slow down.

He then opened her door and dragged her out of the car.

She managed to flag down a bus, running towards the driver shouting for help.

The driver and two men rushed to help and police were called, resulting in McCabe’s arrest.

The victim said in a statement: “I genuinely felt in fear for my life.

“I had no idea what his intentions were. I had some awful thoughts running through my mind.”

McCabe, of Flodden Road, Ford Estate, pleaded guilty to assault, disorderly behaviour and causing harassment, alarm or distress.

Ian Cassidy, defending, said: “All Mr McCabe can explain is on that morning he doesn’t really recall a lot of detail and he can’t explain why he has behaved in this bizarre way.

“He believes he may have had a mental health episode.

“He was on his way to work that day, but he had been awake most of the night - he hadn’t slept.

“It was clearly a very shocking experience for the female in the car, but there was no injury as such.”

The bench adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report to be prepared.

McCabe will be sentenced at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on April 18.