Court hears how motorist tried to kill himself by crashing car into wall at Staveley

First published in News

A LOVING family man tried to kill himself by crashing his high-powered sports car into a stone wall because he felt he had let his wife and children down by being made redundant, a court has heard.

Giles Ward, 38, survived the crash on the A591 at Staveley but had to be cut from the wreckage of his Audi TT Coupe and suffered severe injuries, including a neck broken in two places.

And at Carlisle Crown Court on Monday he was given a suspended prison sentence after admitting dangerous driving.

The judge said that although it was clear he had intended only to harm himself, he could easily have killed someone else.

Probation officer Bill Maloney told the court that Ward, who lives with his wife and two small sons in Leicester Street, Thornton Cleveleys, had lived a lifestyle in keeping with his high-flying job as creative director with Thomas Cook.

But on Christmas Eve 2010 he lost his job and soon fell into a spiral of depression, blaming himself for the affect his sudden lack of income was going to have on his family.

Although he got a new job in the marketing department of Fleetwood Town FC he became increasingly distant from his wife and family, spurning all their attempts to support him emotionally, Mr Maloney said.

In the spring of this year Ward and his wife rented a weekend cottage in the Lake District, where they hoped to talk through their problems.

But he drove off in the small hours of the morning of March 4 after an argument, but stopped soon afterwards to phone his wife to tell her that he loved her.

Then he also phoned his parents and friends “as if he was making his goodbyes,” Mr Maloney said.

Prosecutor Becky McGregor said Maloney had driven at 40mph over a level crossing at Staveley, then – instead of slowing down for the approaching junction with the A591 – “increased his speed very rapidly”.

He went straight over the junction, skidded at the last minute and crashed through a wall.

He was too badly injured to take a breath test at the scene, but at hospital was later found to be nearly two and a half times the legal drink-drive limit.

In an interview with the police later he said that he “put his foot down and went for it” because he wanted to hit the dry stone wall.

Passing sentence, Judge Paul Batty QC told Ward: “I don’t want to add to your woes this afternoon. I can well understand and appreciate that you were a casualty of the recession and then things spiralled out of control. I have no doubt this was a moment of madness on your part.

Ward was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and banned from driving for two years.

He had already been given a similar ban, and fined £110, after pleading guilty before magistrates to driving with excess alcohol.

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