Van Dealer Of The Year, 66, accidentally mowed down contractor ‘in moment of madness’

The director of an award-winning car company ploughed into a contractor in a ‘moment of madness’ following an argument, a judge has heard.

Graham Joyce, 66, from Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, who won ‘Van Dealer of the Year’ for two consecutive years, drove into Colin Green as the contractor prepared to unload his van on January 31 last year.

The company director, who had become infuriated when the contractor attempted to deliver a faulty van, then stepped over the victim before returning 20 minutes later to apologise.  

Today the company director of Anchor Vans, which is based in Padworth, Berkshire, admitted to careless driving at Reading Crown Court.

He was ordered to pay a total of £2,600 and received eight points on his driving licence. 

Graham Joyce, 66, from Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, admitted to careless driving at Reading Crown Court

Graham Joyce, 66, from Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, admitted to careless driving at Reading Crown Court

 Graham Joyce, 66, from Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire, admitted to careless driving at Reading Crown Court

Joyce drives his Mercedes towards the contractor as he stands outside his flatbed truck

Joyce drives his Mercedes towards the contractor as he stands outside his flatbed truck

Joyce drives his Mercedes towards the contractor as he stands outside his flatbed truck 

Prosecutor Adrian Fleming said: ‘On January 31 last year, Colin Green got a call from a customer saying they had a faulty van and they had been advised to return it to Anchor Vans where they brought it from – that is what he did.

‘He went into the reception area to say he was returning the van when Mr Joyce came out and said ”I own this company, I will not accept this van.” 

‘Mr Green explained he had been contracted to leave the van there, but there was something of a disagreement.

‘We suggest Mr Joyce became angry and what he did next was coloured by the fact he was angry.’ 

The court heard how Mr Green walked out of reception and thought that Joyce had gone off in a ‘huff.’ 

The contractor had been stood by his flatbed truck preparing to unload the van when a Mercedes came tearing towards him, knocking him to the floor.

A CCTV video shown to the court captured the moment Joyce swerved behind the truck to prevent the victim unloading the van – unexpectedly ploughing down Mr Green.

The judge watched as the defendant could be seen ‘unsympathetically’ stepping over the victim before returning 20 minutes later to apologise.

Prosecutor Mr Fleming added: ‘He got in his car while angry, he was not deliberately trying to run him over but he was manoeuvring in an area where there is a number of pedestrians – it is a serious example of careless driving.’

Defending the pensioner, Gavin Holme told the judge that the defendant was not aggressive but ‘firm’ in the argument before the collision.

‘This van should not have been deposited on this site, it was supposed to be somewhere else. What then happened was to stop the van being unloaded, he drove behind it.

‘He was not expecting anyone to walk backwards, it was never an intention to try to run into Mr Green. He is a man, who with his family, has built up a successful business over the last 30 years which prides itself on its service.

‘This clearly has been an eye opening experience, he is not the sort of man who would end up in front of the criminal courts. It was a moment of madness, very much out of character.’  

The company director then knocks the contractor to the floor in 'a moment of madness'

The company director then knocks the contractor to the floor in 'a moment of madness'

The company director then knocks the contractor to the floor in ‘a moment of madness’

He exits his car and steps over the contractor before returning 20 minutes later to apologise

He exits his car and steps over the contractor before returning 20 minutes later to apologise

He exits his car and steps over the contractor before returning 20 minutes later to apologise

Sitting at Reading Crown Court, Judge Sarah Campbell said: ‘You lost your temper and you became angry. Mr Green thought you had left the area and started the act of preparing to unload the van.

‘You had driven in a turning motion and hit Mr Green, you were driving at 12mph. He has described that he anxious that it will be repeated, and in the many years of working as a contractor he had had never thought about his own safety.’

Anchor Vans, based Padworth, Berkshire, was awarded UK Van Dealer of the Year Award two years in a row.

Joyce and his family were given the award in recognition of the company’s ‘excellent customer service’ at the Grosvenor Hotel, London, by impressionist Jon Culshaw, star of hit TV show Dead Ringers.

At the time, Director Graham Joyce, said: ‘We’re delighted to have won this prestigious award two years in a row. It demonstrates the high level of customer service that we offer our clients.’

Joyce started the company 31 years ago following his extensive experience running a BMW dealership. 

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