'Mindless': Drunk van driver ran over man after social distancing pub row

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
'Mindless': drink driver Philip Forrest. (SWNS)
Drunk Philip Forrest ran over a man in his van after arguing with him about social distancing. (SWNS)

A drink-driver who ran over a man in his van after arguing with him about social distancing in a pub has been jailed for more than 10 years.

When arrested, Philip Forrest claimed that being almost twice the alcohol driving limit was "no big deal" and boasted to officers about being four times the limit in the past.

The 42-year-old had been drinking at The Three Fishes pub in Worthing, West Sussex, in October 2020 when he had to be reminded of COVID rules by staff.

During the evening, he had a row with his victim, who had become concerned about his lack of respect for social distancing.

As they argued outside on the street, Forrest punched the 55-year-old in the face before fleeing the scene on foot.

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He then got into his white Vauxhall Combo van and drove into his victim, who fell to the floor and was left with serious injuries including a broken arm.

Forrest failed to stop but witnesses said he had talked about going to another pub, the Golden Lion in nearby Durrington, where he was found drinking at the bar with his van parked outside.

Police arrested him on suspicion of drink-driving, dangerous driving and inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was found with 69mcgs of alcohol in his breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Forrest, a carpenter from Worthing, has been jailed for 10 years and nine months, having admitted all three offences at Lewes Crown Court on 6 May. He must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence in prison.

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He was also banned from the road for 10 years and seven months.

Investigating officer Lucy Hailes, of Sussex Police, said: "These were the actions of a mindless and dangerous criminal who also consciously got behind the wheel of his vehicle knowing he was well over the legal drink-drive limit.

"Forrest took no responsibility for his actions and has expressed no remorse throughout."

In a police interview, Forrest claimed he punched the victim in self-defence and suggested the man stepped out in front of his vehicle, causing the collision. His account was not supported by witnesses or CCTV.

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