A pensioner who avoided jail for running over a teenager whose anti-social behavior had made his life miserable has slammed police for failing to investigate – forcing him to take the law into his own hands take.
Michael Ashton, 67, drove his Audi into the 16-year-old’s home and threw him off his scooter after chasing him from his home following a campaign of intimidation by the boy.
But at his dangerous driving trial, rather than jailing him, Judge Rupert Lowe condemned the police and prosecutors for failing to investigate Mr Ashton’s complaints about the boy’s anti-social behaviour.
Speaking for the first time after the end of a two-year ordeal that saw him given a suspended sentence, Mr Ashton told MailOnline: “I simply did what any other man would do and that was to protect my family.”
“I was at my wits’ end about what was happening and decided to fight back.” What my wife and I went through took its toll. It got so bad that we thought we would have to leave our home of 39 years.
“I’m glad the judge saw this and talked about how I was let down by the police.”
“If they had listened to me, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”
Pensioner Michael Ashton, 67, who avoided a prison sentence for running over a teenager whose anti-social behavior had made his life miserable, has harshly criticized police for failing to investigate – forcing him to flout the law to take it into your own hands
Mr Ashton (pictured with his wife Maureen, 72), from Cheltenham, Gloucester, drove his Audi into the 16-year-old’s flophouse and knocked him off his scooter after chasing him from his home following a campaign of intimidation from the boy
The ordeal for retired mechanic Ashton and his 72-year-old wife Maureen, from Cheltenham, Gloucester, began in October 2021 when they heard some teenagers in a neighbour’s garden.
When the couple asked them to leave, they were insulted and threatened.
Mr Ashton said: “Our elderly neighbor was in hospital and these teenagers were just destroying the garden and throwing paint around. “I told them to stop and clean up the mess they had made but they ignored us. There was no argument with them.
“I wasn’t aggressive, but I told them to clean up the mess. “One of them just said he was going to kill me.”
The couple thought the matter was over, but days later the intimidation began when someone knocked on the front door of their fancy £300,000 semi-detached home and ran away.
This lasted for several weeks and eggs as well as milk were thrown at the windows.
When Mr Ashton went outside he saw the teenagers speeding away on scooters.
Maureen, a semi-retired nurse, said they lived in fear for their lives as the intimidation continued.
She said her husband started sleeping downstairs because he feared gasoline would spill through the mailbox.
Their disabled adult son, who has cerebral palsy and Asperger’s syndrome, was so upset that the couple had to find alternative accommodation for him as he could not cope with the uncertainty of what was happening.
Things came to a head on the evening of October 11 when the couple feared someone was trying to kick in the front door.
Mr Ashton said: “There was a huge bang and it felt like the door was going to collapse. It was so loud our neighbors heard it.”
“At that point I had enough and decided to fight back. I didn’t see why we should put up with the intimidation.
“The youth probably thought it was fun, but it had a terrible effect on us.” “We couldn’t sleep and didn’t know what was next.”
After seeing the teenager fleeing on an e-scooter, Michael got behind the wheel of his Audi A2 and went in search of the thug.
After spotting the teenager, he got on the sidewalk and pushed him off the scooter.
The teenager fell under the front wheel of his car and suffered a broken foot and multiple bruises.
As he stood in front of the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, he told him: “This is because of the destruction of my house.”
Mr Ashton said: “I had a dashcam in the car and it recorded everything. “The teenager was lying on the ground and someone who knew him came over and was very angry. I gave him the dashcam and told him to call the police.
“Someone must have called the boy’s father when he showed up and smashed one of the car’s windows with a golf club. “I didn’t try to leave and I knew everything had been caught on the dashcam.”
Later that night, a group of youths returned to the couple’s home and vandalized their car, causing it to be written off.
Gloucester police were now so concerned about the couple’s safety that they advised them to leave the area for fear of further retaliation.
When they refused to move, police installed two surveillance cameras on the property.
There were no further incidents until the cameras were removed after three months, when a golf club was thrown at the main living room windows, causing damage.
Ms Ashton said: “All the incidents had a terrible impact on our health. “We were scared and just wanted it all to stop. This had been our home for 39 years and we no longer felt safe.
“I was too scared to leave the house. It was a terrible time.’
Mr Ashton pleaded guilty at a magistrates court to dangerous driving and was told the case would be referred to Gloucester Crown Court (pictured) as it had greater sentencing powers
The ordeal for retired mechanic Ashton (left) and his wife Maureen (right) from Cheltenham began in October 2021 when they heard some teenagers in a neighbor’s garden
Her husband pleaded guilty in a magistrates court to dangerous driving and was told the case would be referred to Gloucester Crown Court as it had greater sentencing powers.
He was prepared to go to prison and said he had to represent himself as he could not afford the £1,800 he had been offered to hire a lawyer.
The dashcam footage was played in court last week and the judge heard the teenager had suffered a broken foot, bruises and whiplash.
But he also heard that police and the CPS appeared to have failed to investigate the pensioner’s complaints about the teenager’s anti-social behaviour.
The judge said: “It is completely irresponsible of the CPS not to have investigated this further given how long it took to get to court.”
“I am surprised that neither the CPS nor the police have investigated the circumstances surrounding this case. “I believe this would be appropriate mitigation and potentially highlight other anti-social behavior in this area.
He said prosecutors appeared to have “lost interest in the case” as it took more than two years for the case to come to trial.
Much to the Ashtons’ delight, the judge ruled that he did not have to pay the teenager any compensation.
“I think the judge recognized what we had been through and how vulnerable we were,” Mr Ashton said.
“It all started when I told a teenager he couldn’t do something he wanted to do.” The judge said I shouldn’t have used my car as a weapon, but when I chased him all I wanted was the scooter Put up a fight and stop him from coming here. I was convinced he wouldn’t continue. I had to do something and stand up for my family.
“I felt abandoned by the police. If they had taken it seriously from the start, it might not have ended up in court.
His wife added: “This has had such a profound impact on our lives.”
A Gloucester Police spokesperson has been contacted for comment.
Source : www.dailymail.co.uk