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The Bowburn Hall Hotel wedding guest “in a rage” used a car as a weapon to attack the family

A WEDDING GUEST allegedly “gone with the wind” drove wildly around a hotel parking lot, used his car as a weapon, beat his stepmother, dragged her across the floor, and repeatedly drove towards his stepbrother.

Ben Ashman then drove off “furiously” and left his stepmother badly injured in the parking lot of the Bowburn Hall Hotel near Durham. He was walking towards the A1 (M) with limited visibility after his window was broken by another wedding guests trying to prevent him from getting behind the wheel of his car.

In the early morning hours of August 24th last year, his Vauxhall Grandland came to a halt seven miles down the A1 (M) on only three tires on the hard shoulder.

A passenger in a passing car saw Ashman and his girlfriend walking along a grass causeway and approached them to offer help.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the witness describe Ashman as “gone with the wind” and almost brag about what he had just done.

Jolyon Perks, the prosecutor, said Ashman told the passerby, “I just had an argument with nine people. They started pelting my car so I ran three of the b ****** s over.

“You would have done it if it had been your girlfriend.”

He dropped the couple at a gas station in nearby Bradbury and reported them to the police, who arrested Ashman a short time later.

Officers had already been called to the hotel by the manager after the carnage in the parking lot, where the argument had developed at the end of the wedding of another Ashman stepbrother, Connor Ashman.

The defendant’s girlfriend complained about the way another man had looked at her.

Ashman, who allegedly had mental health problems and was not a regular drinker due to the medication he was taking, reacted with violence and hit another man.

His step brother Kyle intervened but was beaten by Ashman, and when he got into his car, efforts were made to prevent him from driving.

A friend of his friend tried to reach into the car to remove the keys, but slammed the door on her arm while Kyle Ashman tossed a painted stone at the driver’s side of the windshield.

But it only pissed off Ashman, who pulled over to Kyle’s shin and only braked. Then he chased him around the parking lot, tried to hit him, crashed into a woman’s parked Nissan Juke and caused great damage.

When his stepmother Kate, who had come down from her hotel room because of the excitement, initially tried to intervene, she got into a confrontation with Ahman’s girlfriend, but in subsequent efforts to prevent him from driving away, she was hit by his car and run over before he is being dragged across the floor.

The court heard that she was seriously injured and taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where she was treated for several injuries to her body, including six broken ribs, over the next ten days.

She is still said to have long-term physical and psychological effects from her injuries.

When Ashman was first interviewed, he denied much of what was alleged against him and said he panicked because he feared an attack and tried to get out of the parking lot.

Originally charged with attempted murder, this count was later replaced by charges of causing serious injury through dangerous driving.

Three weeks before his scheduled trial earlier this year, the 37-year-old from Sunderland Street in Houghton-le-Spring admitted the charges, as well as the joint assault, attempting to cause grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving, criminal harm and failure to perform a breath test provide.

Lewis Kerr said mitigating that the incident was untypical for the defendant, who had little about his previous records and had not committed any criminal offenses since 2007.

Mr Kerr said drinking alcohol, which added to his mental health problems and the medications he was taking, made him more impulsive and responded to what he found provocative, for which he is now deeply remorseful.

Bu Mr Kerr said Ashman tried to resolve these issues with the help of services available to him during his pre-trial detention in prison.

Judge Robert Adams imposed a six-year prison sentence and told Ashman that he accepted that this was atypical due to the combination of drink and medication he was taking, which led him to act on the spur of the moment.

But he said, “This was a horrific example of dangerous driving, aggressive driving on people with the intention of causing serious harm to at least one person.”

Judge Adams said it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured or even killed.

He also banned Ashman from driving for five and a half years.


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