A DRIVER who rammed into a pedestrian, drove with him through crowded streets, left him clinging to her bonnet and blamed her hormones for the incident has been jailed.Suzanne Gilchrist, 37, carried 22-year-old Stuart Morris along on her Vauxhall Corsa for about 300m after driving into him as she tried to escape from a store detective.
CCTV footage shows how she had put Mr Morris’s life in danger, a court heard.
Emma White, prosecuting, said the incident began with the mother-of-one trying to get away from the security officer at the Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk, Scotland, at about 4pm.
She drove away as the guard, Lorne Stevenson, tried to open her driver’s door and snatch her keys from the ignition.
Mr Stevenson was trying to speak to her about an alleged theft from a Boots shop.
Miss White said Gilchrist drove towards him and struck him, causing him jump onto the bonnet to avoid being hurt.
She then drove off “at speed” through a series of streets, weaving from side to side.
Miss White said: “She was driving really fast, swerving over the road, and trying to force him off the bonnet.
“Her wheels were spinning as she turned from Manor St into Princes St in the town centre and she never even tried to stop at the junction.
“He said she was ‘screeching over the road trying to get him to fall off’.
“The roads were being used by other members of the public and vehicles during the course of the incident.”
Miss White said the whole incident was captured on town centre CCTV, which she played to the court. The footage featured close-ups of Mr Morris clinging onto the bonnet.
The depute fiscal said the incident came to an end when Gilchrist was held up by other traffic at lights and “had no option other than to come to a halt”.
Mr Morris is then seen to stand up on the bonnet of the car and kick the windscreen to try to smash it so Gilchrist could not continue.
Miss White said he later told police he had done so “because he was scared, and his adrenaline was going”.
Mr Stevenson, who had been following on foot, ran up and tried to open the car door, but Gilchrist slammed it closed.
Miss White said: “The lights then turned green and she again tried to drive off with Mr Morris still on the bonnet. Mr Stevenson then managed to force open the door and after a struggle managed to switch off the ignition.”
Police arrived and Gilchrist was arrested.
Mr Morris, “plainly overcome”, told officers he “thought he was a goner”.
He was taken to hospital on a spinal board, and found to have spinal bruising, and bruising to his legs and fingers. He was given painkillers and discharged.
Miss White said: “The total distance driven by the accused while he was on the bonnet was 285m.”
Gilchrist, from Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Morris, failing to give way at junctions, and trying to throw him from her car to the danger of his life on June 12 last year.
Her plea of not guilty to stealing a bottle of aftershave was accepted.
Rhona McLeod, mitigating, said Gilchrist had “believed herself to be in danger”.
She said: “She had thought that she was pregnant and was obviously suffering from some sort of hormonal imbalance, and was on such a knife-edge that she panicked.
“She was hysterical. She thought Mr Morris had walked out in front of her trying to make her stop. She extends to him her unreserved apology.”
She added that Gilchrist was in employment, and had a 16-year-old daughter, currently in the middle of exams.
Sheriff Wyllie Robertson jailed Gilchrist for four years and three months.
He said: “You deliberately drove at the victim, who was innocently crossing the road, and he was forced to jump on the bonnet for fear of being run over.
“Your car was screeching around corners, while this man feared for his life. The danger to his life was real and obvious, and there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”
Mr Morris, a builder’s labourer, said Gilchrist deserved a jail term.
“I had just come out of McDonalds after getting a burger,” Mr Morris said. “I saw her arguing with the security guard, and the next thing as I crossed the road – bang she hit me.
“I had to cling onto the top edge of the bonnet for dear life. She was zig-zagging trying to throw me off.
“If it’d been a child she hit, the child would have been killed, as they wouldn’t have been able to hang on.
“She was crazy. When my girlfriend gets hormonal, she just shouts a bit, she doesn’t try to kill anyone.
“It was quite scary. Gilchrist only stopped in the end because I smashed her windscreen.
“She deserves the jail – no-one like that should be free
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