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Benjamin David Allerton tried to kill camping teenagers with his van
A LANDSCAPE gardener “hunted down” and nearly killed terrified teenagers with his van after giving them a five-second countdown to get out of their tents, York Crown Court heard.
Andrew Dallas, prosecuting at York Crown Court, said Benjamin David Allerton was told to leave a group of teenage campers because his drink-affected behaviour was annoying one of the girls.
About 30 minutes later, between 3am and 3.30am, when one 16-year-old boy was “comatose” with drink and a 13-year-old girl was falling asleep, Allerton sped into the field beside the River Ouse, hit part of the flood defences, and stopped his van with full beam headlights on, about 20 metres away from the two tents.
Mr Dallas said that Allerton shouted “You have got five seconds to run” and counted down to zero, missing out four.
As the terrified youngsters fled to nearby trees, the van ran over both tents and pursued the teenagers, including two 13-year-old girls who were trying to get a 16-year-old boy to safety.
Mr Dallas said: “He deliberately hunted down and knocked down those whom he could get in the open field. He used his van as a weapon.”
Allerton hit the trio including the 16-year-old boy, who suffered a broken right arm and shoulder blade. He had to have steel bolts permanently inserted by surgery.
One of the girls also suffered injuries but did not have medical treatment.
Allerton, 25, of Millgate, Selby, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to the boy with intent to do so and attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to a girl on the day he was due to stand trial for attempting to murder them.
The prosecution accepted his pleas and he will be sentenced today.
Mr Dallas said the campers took alcohol and their tents on a warm March evening to a field off Northfield, Barlby, near Selby.
Allerton, who didn’t know any of them, joined in by asking for a cigarette. He “showed off” by cutting down young trees with a chain saw to feed their fire and pouring petrol on it to make it burn brighter, said Mr Dallas.
But as Allerton drank more, he started “getting really nasty” according to one girl and the oldest member of the group got him to leave after an exchange of blows.
When he returned, two teenagers, aged 17 and 18, were in one tent and six, aged 13 to 16 including the “comatose” boy, were in the other tent. When the van hit the tents, it carried the younger campers’ tent some distance.
Allerton had spent the early evening drinking three cans of lager and a bottle of wine at his sister’s and left after they argued. While she slept, he returned and fell asleep on her sofa. A breath test taken at 9.30am, six hours after he hit the teenagers, showed he was nearly twice the drink-drive limit.