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Driver who crashed car into pub crowd is jailed for 12 years

A man who drove his car into a crowd of people outside a New Romney pub, injuring seven, has been jailed for 12 years.

Just before 10pm on 24 November 2017, Kent Police received a call to say a car had collided with a pub in New Romney High Street.

The silver Vauxhall Corsa had been driven by 25-year-old James Bates and it hit the building by the front door, as well as a number of people who had been standing outside at the time.

Among the injuries reported, a man was hit directly by the car, suffering fractures to his leg and arm.

Minutes before, Bates, of Blenheim Road in Littlestone, had been removed from the bar by staff after he got into a number of altercations with other customers while drinking there.

When arrested shortly after the collision, Bates told police he could not explain why he had driven at the crowd of people.

At Canterbury Crown Court Bates pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and six charges of attempted grievous bodily harm.

He was sentenced on Friday 16 November 2018 to 12 years in prison.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Chris Brett said: ‘James Bates was seen to drive his car around the block in order to accelerate his car into the crowd of people standing outside the pub, showing this was a pre-meditated attack.

‘Considering the damage a car can cause, the people who were outside the pub at the time of the collision are fortunate their injuries were not worse. Regardless of injury, to be targeted in such a frightening and unprovoked way can have wide-reaching detrimental effects on those involved.

‘I thank those who have assisted with and supported the investigation and subsequent prosecution.’

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