East Ham man jailed for driving at detective

A driver who mowed down an off-duty policeman when confronted about sounding his horn at 6am has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Nathan Phipps, 22, ran over Det Insp Peter Howarth then reversed over him.

Mr Howarth, 53, collapsed in a driveway and screamed: “Don’t let him kill me.” The keen athlete had surgery for a double fracture to his leg.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard he has returned to work after the incident on November 21, but is unable to use public transport and had daily reminders about it.

Phipps of Stokes Road, East Ham, was convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm and dangerous driving but cleared of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He was jailed for three years and six months for inflicting grievous bodily harm and 15 months, concurrently, for dangerous driving. He was also banned from driving for five years.

Jailing the trainee electrician Judge Inigo Bing described the events as “appalling” and said: “It was predictable that someone would come over and ask you to stop and that person was of course your victim, Peter Howarth.”

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“He did identify himself as a police officer and you totally disregarded him so he felt he had to arrest you. He did break your car window and he did punch you when he thought you were going to fetch a weapon.”

“I am satisfied you did not have a weapon, but that’s what he believed so in a sense you only got what you deserved. You then drove both dangerously, recklessly and deliberately towards Peter Howarth and the group that were nearby and took the obvious risk that injury would result and very catastrophic injury did result.

“There are elements of a revenge attack, because you were so angry by what had happened to you.”

The jury heard Phipps drove to Overton Drive, Wanstead, at 6am, where his girlfriend was staying after the couple agreed to split up.

He was challenged by Mr Howarth with other neighbours for driving up and down the street, repeatedly sounding his horn to get his girlfriend’s attention.

Mr Howard and Phipps spoke briefly, and Phipps got back into the car, but aimed the car at the pavement and accelerated into Mr Howarth and then reversed over him.

Timothy Downes, who watched from a first-floor bedroom in the street, said: “As the car went back I heard him shout: ‘Don’t let him kill me’.”

Phipps was arrested later when he attended a police station with a solicitor.

Giving evidence, he claimed Mr Howarth did not identify himself as a police officer and he was “in a panic” as he tried to drive off following the altercation.

He said he was not aware he had hit anyone, but when he returned home, he saw his car bumper was hanging off.

Asked if he deliberately drove at Mr Howarth, he replied: “I would never do that. It was an accident what happened.”