Dangerous petrol thief has driving ban halved

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Tanker drivers set to back strike

A petrol thief who left a garage manager with a fractured skull after taking him on a terror ride on his car bonnet has had a 15-year driving ban halved on appeal.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that Joshua Charnley had used his car "like a weapon" when he attempted to flee with £37 worth of petrol from a Texaco garage in West Kingsdown, Kent, the Daily Mail reports.

The 20-year-old had entered the forecourt with the express intention of stealing fuel, with the number plates of his black Hyundai covered in black tape.

He was accosted by forecourt manager Lekshmanan Asokkumar as he tried to make his escape, though it didn't stop Charnley from running his car into him, sending the 59-year-old flying onto the bonnet.

He remained there for some time, with Charnley repeatedly swerving and punching him in an attempt to shake him loose. Mr Asokkumar eventually lost his grip as the car rounded a tight corner, when he suffered liver damage and a fractured skull.

Charnley was jailed for 11 years in January and handed a 15-year driving ban after admitting causing injury by dangerous driving. However, the Court of Appeal has now slashed the ban to eight years on the grounds that it was too harsh.

Unsurprisingly, the move has angered Mr Asokkumar's family. His wife, Judie, blasted the verdict as "ridiculous and disgusting". She told the Daily Mail: "The whole ordeal has totally destroyed our lives. Lekshmanan is never going to be the same again.

"He only came out of hospital three weeks ago and still needs to have a titanium plate put into his skull at some point to ease some of his pain.

"He has no interest in anything and will never work again. I'm going to be his carer for the rest of his or my life."

Click play below to watch CCTV footage of the incident.