Cameron Hamblin (pictured) was given nine months’ custody suspended for 18 months at Maidstone Crown Court yesterday after a judge decided he had acted ‘impulsively’. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 prosecution costs
A back-seat passenger who put the lives of his girlfriend and three friends in danger when he grabbed the steering wheel and crashed the vehicle into a tree and a wall, has been spared jail.
Cameron Hamblin was sitting in the rear of the Ford Fiesta being driven by partner Niamh Cosham Elam when he unbuckled his seatbelt, leant forward and yanked the wheel.
A court heard the couple had been arguing that evening about a friend the 20-year-old had asked Miss Cosham Elam to block on her phone.
They were travelling at about 40mph on Langton Road in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, when Hamblin reached forward. Also in the vehicle were three of their friends.
The Fiesta careered off the road, hitting a tree and wall. Hamblin was later heard to say he had intended to kill himself.
But Maidstone Crown Court was told yesterday that despite the Fiesta being written off following the smash on June 26 last year, no one was seriously injured.
Miss Cosham Elam suffered minor chest injuries when her airbag inflated, while Hamblin and friends Harvey Harcombe, Oliver Macdonald and Michael Davison were left with bruising from the smash.
The court was also told that the shop worker and Miss Cosham Elam, who sat in the public gallery during the hearing, are still together, and all five remain friends.
Hamblin, who admitted damaging property being reckless as to whether life would be endangered, was given nine months’ custody suspended for 18 months after a judge decided he had acted ‘impulsively’.
The court heard the friends had been out in Tunbridge Wells that evening when Hamblin (pictured) looked at his girlfriend’s phone and saw a friend he had asked her to block had been unblocked
His pleas of not guilty to the more serious offence of damaging property with intent to endanger life, as well as four offences of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, were accepted by the prosecution.
No evidence was offered and formal not guilty verdicts entered. Hamblin, of Tunbridge Wells, also denied causing danger to road users by interfering with a motor vehicle. This was ordered to be left on the court file.
Passing sentence, Judge Charles Macdonald QC said: ‘This is clearly a case of recklessness, not intent.
‘Impulsively, you undid your seatbelt and grabbed the steering wheel and directed the car into a tree. The occupants, mercifully, only suffered minor injuries.’
The judge added mitigation could be found by reason of Hamblin’s age, the offence being out of character, his remorse and insight.
The court was also told that Hamblin (pictured outside Maidstone Crown Court at an earlier hearing) and Miss Cosham Elam, who sat in the public gallery during the hearing, are still together, and all five remain friends
Hamblin must carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £250 prosecution costs.
The court heard the friends had been out in Tunbridge Wells that evening when Hamblin looked at his girlfriend’s phone and saw a friend he had asked her to block had been unblocked.
Their argument then continued while in the car and resulted in Hamblin grabbing the steering in wheel in what prosecutor Andrew Forsyth described as ‘a loss of control and potentially a very serious one’.
David Cohen, defending, said Hamblin, who has one previous conviction for common assault, had since spent £800 (POUNDS) buying his girlfriend a new car.
He had also stopped using cannabis and brought his drinking under control.
‘He acted stupidly and dangerously in the heat of the moment. He doesn’t drive and relies on his girlfriend as a chauffeur,’ added Mr Cohen.
‘They all remain friends. They appear to have accepted this was a frightening one-off occurrence.’
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