Man jailed after drunkenly driving Audi through walls of family home

The original case was heard at the justice centre in Leamington Spa
The original case was heard at the justice centre in Leamington Spa

A drunken Kenilworth driver who ploughed his Audi into the hallway of a family home could have killed all three children inside, a judge has ruled.

John Woodhead, aged 44, was jailed for 18 months and banned from driving for five years after pleading guilty to counts of dangerous driving.

Woodhead, of Kenilworth Hall, Bridge Street, was found guilty of being out of control when he drove his Audi S8 into a family home in Earlsdon Avenue South in Coventry on May 10.

Appearing at Warwick Crown Court, he also pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen for analysis .

Andrew Wilkins, prosecuting, said that the powerful Audi had gone straight through the front of the McCutchion family’s home in Earlsdon, destroying part of the wall and smashing into the stairs.

He told the court how Alister McCutchion, who made the 999 call, had been trapped upstairs and could not get to his wife and children aged four, six and eight who were in the lounge downstairs.

The eldest rushed into the garden with the pet Labrador and Mr McCutchion managed to clamber down the partially destroyed stairs in the smoke and dust to help the driver .

But Woodhead climbed out of the car window and walked out of the house, leaving his injured partner in the car.

Woodhead claimed his brakes had failed - which was not true - and after being arrested nearby he refused to take a breath test.

Mr Wilkins, who said the family had to move out of their home because of the damage, added that Woodhead had two previous convictions for failing to provide specimens.

Richard Hendron, defending, said that Woodhead had been ‘in no trouble at all’ for five years and was “clearly trying to sort his life out” and be a law-abiding citizen.

He said that the couple had been at a funeral, and that Woodhead had been drinking despite being on medication. He said that if jailed, his client would be unable to care for his parents or pay rent on the flat he shared with his partner.

Recorder Bright said that it was “more by luck than judgement” that nobody was hurt.

He told the court: “That was a family home. There could have been family members in the sitting room.

“He has had chances. I have a duty to have the public interest in mind.” He then told Woodhead: “I take into account that you tendered pleas of guilty at the first opportunity, and your public apology to the family.

“But you should come to terms with the reality of what you do, which is criminal offending because of your failure to limit your drinking and your behaviour.

“You drink and have no sense of the limits. A drunken man at the wheel of a car is a man in charge of a weapon that can kill. You drove into the wall of someone’s home, straight through the wall into the sitting room.

“You’re very fortunate they were not in the living room as you could have killed all three children. This is not the first time you have been in trouble because of drink.

“Why should the court take into account your mother and your girlfriend if you’re not bothered to? The time to show you mercy has gone.”