Shopkeeper knocked down teenage shoplifter after theft at Coalville store
A shopkeeper jumped into his van and knocked down a teenage shoplifter making off with three stolen bottles of beer, a court heard.
George Palmer (64) saw red after the boy called him an insulting name and helped himself to the alcohol in the shop in Woodhouse Road, Coalville.
Leicester Crown Court was told Palmer, a grandfather, mounted the kerb and struck the teenager from behind.
The act was described as "wholly out of character" for Palmer, who has never been in trouble before.
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Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said that after the boy ran off with the beer Palmer followed him in his transit van onto Woodhouse Road, Coalville
"He veered to the right hand side, mounting the grass verge onto the pavement and collided with the back of the complainant's legs.
"A witness described the complainant's legs as appearing to buckle and him being thrown into the air and dropping to the floor.
"Other motorists estimated that the van was travelling at about 15mph.
"The Crown say it was a deliberate act of the defendant as a result of what went on in the shop."
Mr Murphy said Palmer got out of the van and told the youth: "You won't do it again, will you?"
However, Palmer disputed saying that.
He claimed it was not a deliberate act and that he lost control of the vehicle.
Mr Murphy said the shoplifter was drunk at the time.
The court heard the boy's mother arrived in a car and he went to hospital suffering from concussion.
He suffered a lump and minor cuts on his head.
A CT scan revealed no abnormality.
Afterwards, Palmer returned to the shop, which he had left unmanned.
A group of about 20 gathered outside and he locked himself in the store until the police arrived.
Palmer, of Grove Road, Whitwick, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at 6.30pm on August 23.
He was given a six month jail sentence, which was suspended for a year and was banned from driving for 12 months.
The court was told that Palmer had been the victim of numerous thefts and burglaries in the 33 years he had owned the shop in Woodhouse Road, Coalville.
He had been assaulted on the night before the dangerous driving incident. In 2004, he was attacked by a robber and lost an eye.
Judge Simon Hammond said: "The background is very sad.
"I can see he's lost an eye and I can understand why he was angry.
"But to go after him and knock him down – he could have killed him and that's the gravity."
Elizabeth Power, mitigating, said Palmer had been targeted by a number of burglaries and thefts with no action being taken.
She said: "A crowd of people went to the shop after this incident.
"He hasn't worked in the shop since."
Losing his licence would affect the running of the business as he would be unable to visit the cash and carry to stock the store.
Leaving court, he said the judge had been "fair".
He said: "Of course, I'm very sorry for what happened."