1st Jul, 2022

Coventry van driver who repeatedly rammed police car while high on drugs is jailed for eight-and-a-half years

Coventry Editorial 4th Mar, 2022 Updated: 4th Mar, 2022

A VAN DRIVER who repeatedly rammed a police car in Coventry, writing it off and trying to injure officers has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Paul Neelan destroyed the Vauxhall Insignia after deliberately colliding with it six times in a transit van as police responded to reports of a fight around 1.45am on new year’s day last year.

Two officers were helped from the car having suffered neck and back injuries but thankfully neither were seriously injured.

They were heading to Hummingbird Avenue, when they spotted a white transit van being driven recklessly and mounting a pavement.

There had earlier been reports of a serious disorder and a vehicle driving at people.

Neelan was chased into Hancock Green but suddenly reversed the van back towards the officers in the police car, ramming it six times with such force the airbags activated and a door was torn off. He then hit another police car.

The 29-year-old, who was high on drugs, drove off but crashed moments later as he failed to negotiate a roundabout.

Neelan, from Cedars Avenue in Coventry, was chased down and found hiding in a garden nearby wearing only a pair of boxer shorts.

Police charged him with two counts of attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm on two police officers.

He denied the charges but was found guilty in January and at Leamington Crown Court today (4 March) he was jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Assistant Chief Constable Mike O’Hara said the sentencing should act as a stark warning that anyone who assaulted blue light workers risked a lengthy prison term.

“This was an outrageous, sustained attack on two officers who were responding to calls of a disorder to protect members of the public.

“Thankfully the officers weren’t seriously injured but, as anyone can see by the state the car was left in, it could have ended tragically.

“This is a very significant jail term that’s been handed down to the offender and should be a wake-up call to anyone who thinks they can assault members of the emergency services with impunity.

“Anyone who assaults emergency service workers must expect to pay a high price and spend time behind bars.”

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