Tayside and Central Scotland

Woman jailed after driving through Falkirk with man on car bonnet

A 37-year-old woman has been jailed after driving through Falkirk with a man clinging to the bonnet of her car.

Suzanne Gilchrist was caught on CCTV driving her vehicle at 22-year-old Stuart Morris in June last year.

Mr Morris, a passer-by, is seen holding on to the bonnet of the car as it weaves down several streets.

At Stirling Sheriff Court, Gilchrist was given four years and three months in jail. Prosecutors said her driving could have led to Mr Morris's death.

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson told Gilchrist that CCTV footage of the incident, which was played in court, showed "vividly" how she had put Mr Morris's life in danger.

Drove 'at speed'

Emma White, prosecuting, said the incident began with the mother-of-one trying to get away from the security officer at the Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk at about 16:00.

She drove away as the guard, Lorne Stevenson, tried to open her driver's door and snatch her keys from the ignition.

Mr Stevenson was trying to speak to her about an alleged theft from Boots.

The court heard that as Gilchrist sped off, Mr Morris, an "unconnected" passer-by, was crossing the road and was in her way.

Ms White said Gilchrist drove towards him and struck him, causing him to jump on to the bonnet to avoid being hurt.

She then drove off "at speed" through a series of other short streets, weaving from side to side.

Ms White said: "She was driving really fast, swerving over the road, and trying to force him off the bonnet."

The depute fiscal said the incident came to an end when Gilchrist was held up by other traffic at lights and "had no option other than to come to a halt".

'A goner'

A struggle ensued, police arrived and Gilchrist was arrested.

Mr Morris, "plainly overcome", told officers he "thought he was a goner".

He was taken to hospital on a spinal board, and found to have spinal bruising, and bruising to his legs and fingers. He was given painkillers and discharged.

Gilchrist, of Boswall Parkway, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Morris, failing to give way at junctions, and trying to throw him from her car to the danger of his life on 12 June last year.

Her plea of not guilty to stealing a bottle of aftershave was accepted.

Rhona McLeod, defending, said Gilchrist had "believed herself to be in danger".

She said: "She had thought that she was pregnant and was obviously suffering from some sort of hormonal imbalance, and was on such a knife-edge that she panicked."

Les Brown, procurator fiscal for Stirling, said Gilchrist had "used her car as a weapon" and her driving could have led to Mr Morris's death.

Mr Morris, a builder's labourer, said: "She deserves the jail - no-one like that should be free."