Jail for East Devon man, 29, who used his car as a weapon and ‘ruined’ his victim’s life

A judge has jailed an East Devon man who downed nine pints of booze then ‘ruined’ a woman’s life, deliberately crushing her with his car before fleeing to buy a kebab.

Luke Geard, aged 29, ploughed his car into a woman, breaking multiple bones and puncturing her lung, after he flew into a rage in Axminster during a night out drinking with friends.

Geard of Hillcrest in Kilmington, East Devon, appeared at Exeter Crown Court in May and was jailed to 10 years after the jury heard his victim recall how he looked straight at her, revved his car, drove and crushed her against another vehicle.

He left the woman with life-changing injuries and she had to learn to walk again. She had multiple fractures to her pelvis, femur, two bones in her lower back, shoulder blade, shin, ankle, feet and seven ribs. The victim also suffered a punctured lung.

Speaking about the unprovoked attack, she said: “It’s been the worst thing to ever happen to me.”

Sentencing Geard to ten years, Judge David Evans said: “You used the vehicle as a highly dangerous weapon. You had driven into the victim and forced her body between two cars, crushing her and propelling her onto the Tarmac. You decided not to stop and drove on.”

East Devon

Jailed: Luke Geard, aged 29, of Hillcrest in Kilmington, East Devon.
Photo: with permission

Geard was jailed for causing grievous bodily harm with intent following a three-day trial after he previously pleaded guilty to a raft of other offences; driving a motor vehicle dangerously, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, assaulting an emergency worker, sexual assault, and failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

After his arrest he showed no remorse for what he had done, Devon and Cornwall Police said.

The court heard how in June 2022, Geard had been out drinking with friends at two pubs in Axminster.

After several alcoholic drinks, Geard drove his BMW X5 to buy cigarettes from a local shop before returning to the pub.

CCTV played to the jury showed Geard repeatedly ordering drinks, or having drinks bought for him by friends. He was shown to have downed around nine pints of cider and lager during a five-hour session.

At around 10pm, Geard had an argument with one of his friends before dropping her home on Sector Lane in Axminster.

Geard drove away ‘aggressively’, forcing an approaching car to reverse out of his way, then crashed into a parked vehicle.

The court heard how the victim heard the crash, came out of her home to investigate and spotted Geard had hit a car belonging to her son-in-law.

When she tried to stop him from driving off, he accelerated, drove at her and crushed her against a parked car.

In her police video interview, the victim said Geard looked directly at her before accelerating and hitting her.

She needed emergency surgery to repair multiple broken bones, spent more than three months recovering in hospital, and relies on life-long medical treatment since the attack.

She said “He’s ruined my life and there’s not much else to say. I just have no idea why he would drive into me. I just wanted him to stop because he hit my sons-in-law’s car.

“He was so angry. It’s been the worst thing to ever happen to me but I also I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me through this very difficult time; my family and friends, the hospital staff who looked after me for months on end, the paramedics, the physios who have helped get me back on my feet, my colleagues, and the police.”

She added: “Everyone has been so lovely to me through this process, and I am very grateful for all of the care and support I am still receiving.”

Geard fled the crash scene and drove around eight miles to Seaton to buy a kebab.

On the way, he crashed into another vehicle on Boshill Hill in Seaton, and fled to the takeway.

A motorist raised the alarm after spotting Geard driving dangerously, and he was arrested at his home shortly after he returned from the kebab shop.

Geard was taken into police custody where he was told of his victim’s injuries.

The jury was shown body worn footage recorded by police, which exposed Geard’s ‘lack of regard for the injuries’ of his victim.

Police said the video evidence also proved ‘vital’ in the prosecution’s case as Geard denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Detective Constable Ed Mitchell, who led the police investigation, said he welcomed the sentencing and hoped it would bring about a sense of justice for the victim.

He said: “This was an unprovoked attack resulting in life-changing injuries.

“The victim spent months in hospital, needing to learn to walk again. This has had a devastating impact on her. I would like to thank her for her courage and ongoing support to the investigation.

“We wish her all the best in her continued recovery, which has been an extremely long and difficult journey to this point.”

He added: “Mr Geard showed no remorse upon his arrest. The comments he made about the victim’s injuries, and his attempts to play down his knowledge of the incident, served to strengthen the resolve of all officers and staff involved in the investigation to pursue justice.

Detective Inspector Guy Biggar praised the ‘diligence’ of the team, who worked ‘extremely hard’ to make sure the victim received justice.”

He said: I’m pleased to see that the prosecution team were able to secure a conviction for causing grievous bodily harm with intent, in what is a particularly nasty, and unprovoked attack where Mr Geard used his vehicle as a weapon.”

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