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Drunken man jailed for smashing Rolls Royce through Tesco's window

A drunk driver who crashed his Rolls-Royce into Tesco’s because he had a grudge against the company was today jailed for 16 months.

Robert Caton, 50, had downed two bottles of whisky before he ploughed the luxury car into the front window of the store in Andover, Hampshire, in May this year.

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Winchester Crown Court heard that Caton had asked a security guard how long it would take to evacuate the building shortly before he got behind the wheel and made two attempts to crash into the store as terrified shoppers fled.

Six women suffered cuts, bruising and shock and one woman, who was 20 weeks’ pregnant and had already suffered two miscarriages, needed to go to hospital.

The court heard that unemployed Caton, who suffers from depression, was angry with Tesco because he had saved up for a bed and cupboard for his three-year-old son but a mattress he thought would come with it did not arrive.

Caton pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to dangerous driving and failing to provide a breath specimen.

The court heard a Tesco staff member pulled Caton from the car when it finally went through the window. The whole incident was captured on CCTV that was shown to the court.

The crash caused £21,000 of damage to the store, which also lost £41,000 in sales as the mess was cleared up.

In mitigation, the court heard that Caton had “simply snapped” and driven the 1983 Rolls-Royce at the window, but he did not intend to injure anyone and that is why he spoke to the security guard.

“This was a man on the very edge of his own mental well-being,” his barrister, Peter Asteris, said.

The lawyer then read out a brief letter to the court from Caton.

It said: “I would like to say anybody breaks if the stress is enough. I broke. I gladly offer my sincere apologies to all affected by my reckless and irresponsible behaviour.”

Caton had restored the Rolls-Royce for more than seven years using small cash gifts from family.

Mr Asteris said Caton and his wife had money problems and a large bill had arrived on the day of the offences, adding to the stress and anger over the mattress.

At this point, Judge Keith Cutler said: “Perhaps he could have traded his Rolls-Royce for a smaller vehicle.”

Jailing him, the judge said his actions were “deliberate” and an “appalling piece of driving” where he knew there were people. He said his actions had terrified those out shopping on a perfectly ordinary day at 4.30 in the afternoon.

“If every citizen of this country who felt aggrieved against a shop or a bank acted like you there would be complete mayhem,” he told Caton. “Frustration is no defence or mitigation.”

The judge jailed Caton for 16 months for the dangerous driving and three months concurrently for failing to give the breath specimen.

He also disqualified him from driving for five years and ordered the forfeiture of the Rolls-Royce.

If every citizen of this country who felt aggrieved against a shop or a bank acted like you there would be complete mayhem. Frustration is no defence or mitigation

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