A LOVE cheat tried to kill himself by smashing his car into the back of a police speed camera van in Bromsgrove, a court heard.
Nicholas Damms smashed his Jaguar into the Vauxhall Vivaro police speed camera van while it was parked in a layby near Sanders Park in Kidderminster Road, Bromsgrove, and injured the officer sitting inside, Worcester Crown Court heard.
The 29-year-old father of three had been told he was not welcome at home after his wife discovered he had had an affair, Denis Desmond, defending, told the court. He said Damms was "feeling suicidal and drove straight at the first solid object that came into view" at 2.10pm on October 25 last year.
Delroy Henry, prosecuting, told the court that the officer, Peter Hughes, was in a highly visible speed camera van downloading files and was not wearing a seat belt when the crash happened.
He was thrown from his seat and had to be treated in hospital for a cut to his head and injuries to his knee. He was still anxious about returning to work, Mr Henry said.
Damms, he said, had driven across the road at about 30mph and it was lucky there was no traffic in the opposite direction.
"He deliberately tried to take his own life by driving his car in a dangerous way," Mr Henry said. There was damage to the front of the car and the rear of the van.
Damms, of Barretts Orchard, Cleobury Mortimer, near Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to being reckless as to whether life was endangered by damaging property and to dangerous driving.
Mr Desmond said Damms had twice before tried to take his life and had mental health issues which had led to him having treatment. He did not target the van because it contained a speed camera and he called the emergency services as soon as he realised someone was inside.
Damms had spent four months in custody since the incident, Mr Desmond said. His wife has now forgiven him and his family was prepared to welcome him back.
Recorder Rachel Brand, QC, said Damms had reached an "emotional fever pitch" on the day and had behaved in a way that was completely out of character.
She gave him a 21-month sentence on the damage charge and 12 months for dangerous driving to run concurrently, suspended for two years and with supervision. The suspended sentence, she said, would give him chance to rebuild his life with his family.
He was also ordered to undertake an anger management course and to do 200 hours unpaid work. He was banned from driving for 18 months and will have to take an extended re-test.