A Hylton-Redhouse man started punching a teenage boy and tried to attack him with a spanner, after driving his car directly at him outside a Sunderland school.

Martin Simms drove over a grassed area and mounted a pavement before getting out of his Vauxhall Zafira and launching an attack on a schoolboy who was walking home. The 46-year-old then “threw punches” at the boy and his friend, but was quickly overpowered by the teens. Simms then went back to his car and armed himself with a spanner, which he swung at the boys but failed to hit.

Simms, of Rothwell Road, Hylton-Red House, appeared at Newcastle’s Moot Hall on Wednesday to be sentenced for dangerous driving and assault. He was convicted of the offences after a trial.

Emma Dowling, prosecuting, said the teenage victim – who cannot be identified after a court order was imposed – was leaving school with a friend when they became aware of Simms behind the wheel of a “gold coloured car” heading their way.

She said: “The car was being driven directly at them, causing them to move out of the way to avoid being hit. The car mounted a pavement and went across a grassed area.”

Simms then got out of his car and “started to throw punches at them” – but the teenagers managed to “overpower” him and put him to the ground. Ms Dowling said: “The defendant went to his car and retrieved a spanner and swung it towards the boys.”

The court heard the spanner was “about an inch” away from one of the boys’ faces. The incident was witnessed by a teacher and the boys ran back into the school as the police were called.

Helen Towers, defending, said the dangerous driving element was “extremely short lived”. She said: “The defendant has a particular way of expressing himself and sometimes finds it hard getting out what he’s trying to say.

He’s been referred for an assessment for autism.” She added: “He was rash and reckless”. The court heard that Simms may have believed the boys were “bullies”, but there was no evidence to suggest they actually were.

Sentencing Simms, Recorder Jason Pitter KC handed him a 15 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

He must also complete 30 rehabilitation days and was banned from driving for 18 months. He will have to sit an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.

By SGM

SGM

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