February 2018

Father who tried to kill his four young children jailed for life

A father who tried to kill his four young children with a hammer before driving them into a pub wall at 92mph has been jailed for life.

Owen Scott had been having a cocaine-induced psychotic episode and believed he was “protecting” his children by fleeing the clutches of an “evil gang”.

The 29-year-old had driven his three children and step daughter 250 miles from his home in Fawley, Hampshire, to Thurgoland, South Yorkshire last August.

He repeatedly struck all four with a hammer before careering into the wall of The Travellers pub, making no attempt to brake.

Scott, a scaffolder, was arrested at the scene of the crash last August but claims to have no memory of the incident, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

His seven-year-old daughter lost a large section of her skull in the attack, is partially paralysed and will be wheelchair-dependant for the rest of her life. She has undergone 13 operations and remains in hospital six months later.

His 21-month-old son still has a hole in his skull which will require further surgery and both he and his nine-month old brother have to wear protective helmets.

Scott’s eight-year-old stepdaughter also suffered severe injuries from which she is still recovering.

Mrs Justice O’Farrell ordered Scott to serve a minimum of 14 years for attempted murder.

Simon Keeley QC, prosecuting, said Scott became convinced he was being chased by a gang who meant him and his children harm.

On the day of the crash, he picked up the children, who lived with his ex-partner Sheryl Rogers in the Southampton area, and went on a two-day trip around the country, crashing his grey Dacia Logan into the pub in the early hours of August 23.

Mr Keeley said police had only traced part of Scott’s route but he first went to the Isle of Wight before travelling to Liverpool.

He purchased a satnav in Colne, Lancashire, and visited a Burger King in Bury, Greater Manchester, before heading to the Huddersfield area and then into South Yorkshire, where the crash occurred on the A629.

An off-duty police officer, who witnessed the crash, dialled 999 and cared for the injured children until paramedics arrived. He said Scott, who was uninjured, had clambered over the children to get out of the car.

The two girls were found on top of each other on the central console of the car, the 21-month-old boy was found in a footwell and his younger brother in a carry-cot, also in a footwell, the judge heard.

She told Scott: “You made no attempt to comfort or assist them or check whether they were injured.”

Scott was originally arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Days later, South Yorkshire Police announced that he had also been charged with attempted murder.

Scott originally pleaded not guilty to the charges.

But last month, he admitted four counts of attempted murder and one count of dangerous driving.

At a previous hearing, prosecutors said Scott had used a hammer to inflict blows on the children in the car before driving deliberately into the front wall of the pub.

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