A MAN has told a jury he was not behind the wheel of a car which drove directly at a police officer in Windermere.

Michael Patrick Kinsella, 44, is alleged to have driven straight at PC David Tortoishell on Claife Avenue in the early hours of June 8. But Kinsella denies charges alleging dangerous driving and assault with intent to resist arrest, and is on trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

Kinsella was wanted on a warrant when PC Tortoishell went to Claife Avenue at 1-20am to speak with an associate of his. After the uniformed officer parked his marked vehicle, a Vauxhall Astra registered to Kinsella came around a corner.

PC Tortoishell told jurors he saw the driver was Kinsella, to whom he had spoken in person twice before.

After PC Tortoishell signalled for the driver to stop, the car was then driven, he said, straight at him "with no attempt to deviate".

"When I realised the driver was coming straight towards me I jumped to my left so I remained on the pavement," he said. Had he not done so, he stated: "I would have gone over the bonnet." The wing mirror clipped the PC's hand as the Astra drove off.

"I could see directly through the window and into the car, and could see the driver quite clearly," he said. "I had no doubt whatsoever that it was Mr Kinsella."

He then recognised Kinsella the following day as he drove a different vehicle in Windermere. Kinsella was stopped and, when interviewed, provided a prepared statement.

This read: "I was not driving any vehicle in Claife Avenue, Windermere, during the early hours of 8th June, 2019, and consequently did not drive at an officer. Whoever is responsible for this has been mistakenly identified as me."

Giving evidence, Kinsella said he was not aware he should have been at court on June 5, nor that a warrant was out for his arrest after he did not attend.

Although he was the Astra's registered keeper, he told of selling it several weeks before.

His barrister, Sarah Magill, asked: "Were you driving the Vauxhall Astra on June 8?"

Kinsella, who said he was managing the Queens Hotel in Ambleside at the time, replied: "No. I was not driving the car."

He spoke of being at a friend's house in Windermere from 8pm until 3-30am, and hadn't left the property.

Another man initially claimed to police he was the driver before changing his story, saying "he had been threatened into saying this by Mr Kinsella". But Kinsella told jurors: "I did not threaten him."

The trial continues.