A judge at Leicester Crown Court praised a van driver who deliberately mounted a pavement and ran down five men during Ramadan as “a good family man” who was behaving “completely out of character”.
According to a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper, 26-year-old Lugman Aslam, of Warren View, Leicester, had gotten into a physical altercation with the men after backing his van into one of them, during which he alleged he was racially abused.
Recorder (circuit judge) Justin Wigoder described how, following this incident, a vengeful Aslam returned to his van, mounted the pavement and ploughed through the group, in order to “get [his] own back”.
“I’ve seen it on CCTV and you deliberately mounted the pavement and drove straight at them and right through the middle of them at speed,” Wigoder said.
“Some were thrown to the side and three were struck by your vehicle front-on, with one going over the bonnet and hitting the windscreen.
“It’s quite remarkable that nobody was seriously hurt or killed and the only injuries complained of were bruises and scratches.
“One indication of the force of the collision was your windscreen was smashed – you claimed it had been hit by an animal when you got it repaired.
“You accept your intention, driving at them, was to cause serious injury and that’s what makes this case so serious.
“The motivation was driving at them to get your revenge, to get your own back from the fact they’d assaulted you.”
However, the judge then went on to say that he accepted the potentially deadly attack “was completely out of character” for the perpetrator, whom he praised as “a good family man” with glowing references.
“You’re of very positive good previous character and I’ve received a considerable number of references setting out all the good that is in you,” he said.
Nadeem Aullybocus, defending, explained that Aslam “was fasting [for Ramadan] on that day and had been doing so for about 20 days” when he carried out the attack.
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and attempting to inflict intentional grievous bodily harm, and ultimately received a five-year sentence and a four-and-a-half year driving ban.
With the automatic parole provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003, it is unlikely he will serve more than half of his prison term in custody.
The relatively light sentence follows a number of deadly vehicle-based attacks on pedestrians in Britain and Europe, including the Westminster Bridge attack on March 22nd and the London Bridge attack on June 3rd.