Marton: Farmer accused of using 4x4 to mow down suspected thief

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

A farmer has been accused of running down a suspected metal thief and causing catastrophic injuries after pursuing him across fields.

Dennis Tindale 77, of Village Farm, Marton, allegedly drove his Nissan 4x4 straight at Michael Lewis, mowing him down on 9th June last year.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court heard that Mr Lewis, 67, was thrown into the air before falling back down. Tindale is then alleged to have walked over to Mr Lewis and shaken him ‘like a rag doll’.

Jonathon Dee, prosecuting, said Mr Lewis suffered serious head injuries and a broken neck and is now a quadriplegic.

The incident happened after Mr Lewis, together with his nephew Lee Pitchford and a third man, Lance Sewell, were seen on a footpath by the yard of Tindale’s farm.

Mr Dee said Tindale pursued them first of all in a van and then in his 4x4.

“It is an indication of what his intention was that he drove straight through a barbed wire fence in his eagerness to get to them,” he said.

“His speed was not great. Certainly no more than 25mph, but still fast enough to cause serious injury.”

Mr Dee added “It is quite probable that the men had mixed intentions. One was to look for places to fish and another was to look for scrap metal. They weren’t in a position to fish, because they had no rods, and they weren’t in a position to steal scrap as they were on bicycles but they were scouting the area.”

Lee Pitchford told the jury that they went along a public footpath which adjoined the yard at Tindale’s property before being chased by the farmer.

He admitted “I do a bit of scrapping but we weren’t in a position to take any scrap that day.”

“I looked at the scrap but I didn’t touch anything.”

He said Tindale chased them in a white van but then switched to the 4x4 and followed them as they fled on foot across fields.

“He got faster as he came down. He hit my uncle. He knocked him over. As my uncle came down he hit the top of the bonnet. Blood splattered all over. He slapped on the brakes and threw my uncle to the floor.”

“He got out of his vehicle, picked my uncle up, shook him like a rag doll and dropped him straight on the floor. I thought he’d killed him.”

Tindale, who denies inflicting grievous bodily harm to Mr Lewis, told police he thought the group were stealing and went after them.

He said what happened was an accident which occurred after he lost control of his vehicle.

The trial continues.