Drink driver who ran over his stepmother at wedding jailed

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Ben Ashman was given six years in prison. (PA)

A drink driver ran who over his stepmother three times after a row broke out at a family wedding has been jailed.

Ben Ashman drove his Vauxhall Grandland at guests attending his stepbrother Connor’s wedding after getting into an argument when his girlfriend said she did not like the way someone was looking at her.

Ashman, of Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, was celebrating the wedding at the Bowburn Hotel in Durham last August when the row broke out at about midnight, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said Ashman left the hotel after the fight was broken up but got into another confrontation with another stepbrother, Kyle.

His girlfriend grappled with his stepmother, Kathryn Ashman, who had come out of her hotel room in her nightgown after being disturbed by the encounter.

A witness saw Ashman grab his stepmother and say: “If you touch my lass again, I’ll f****** kill you”.

He was also heard to threaten: “I’ll splat everyone here.”

When Kyle Ashman intervened, the defendant knocked him to the floor twice.

He then punched a friend of his girlfriend who had tried to calm her down, being going out to his Vauxhall.

Ashman was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court. (PA Images)

The friend tried to grab his keys but he slammed the door on her arm before Kyle Ashman threw a rock at his windscreen, shattering it.

The defendant then drove around the car park, towards guests, and then at Kyle Ashman, stopping as the bumper hit his shins, the court heard.

He also drove into his girlfriend’s friend’s Nissan Juke, badly damaging it.

Ashman knocked over his stepmother, reversed over her, then went forward with her under the vehicle, before he sped off out of the car park.

Kathryn Ashman was left covered in blood, and was taken to hospital with a fractured eye socket, six broken ribs and cuts.

She said she had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, ongoing facial numbness and had panic attacks.

Afterwards, Ashman drove down the A1 with his girlfriend, pulling over to the hard shoulder about seven miles from the hotel when a stranger stopped to help.

Perks said Ashman told the driver: “Cheers, mate, thanks for stopping. I have just had a fight with nine people, they started pelting our lass with bricks so I ran three of the b******* over.

“You would do it is it was your girlfriend.”

The witness said Ashman was “gone with the wind” and drunk.

Ashman admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, common assault, attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to his stepbrother, dangerous driving and criminal damage.

The 37-year-old had faced an attempted murder charge but it was reduced when the prosecution accepted the running over was unintentional. He was given six years in prison.

Defending, Lewis Kerr said Ashman felt remorse and sorrow, and since the event his girlfriend has given birth to twins but he has not seen them as he has been held on remand without visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Robert Adams said Ashman was impulsive due to mental health reasons and the medication he took reacted with the alcohol he had.

The judge said Ashman could have killed his stepmother, saying: “You were clearly suffering a loss of control, in a rage, unable to see what was around you.”