A KFC restaurant was ram-raided and two vehicles, including a police car, were repeatedly rammed when staff refused to serve a bargain bucket to an irate ‘drive-though’ customer because they were closed.
Hugh Brown, 50, flipped out and went on the rampage with his car when staff at KFC in Oakley Road, Corby refused to serve him.
He was jailed for seven years for a “psychotic and deranged” outburst which one of officers described as the worst he had witnessed in 19 years.
Northampton Crown Court heard Brown drove his car through the front window of KFC, threatened staff before driving off. When he realised he was being followed by an off-duty police officer, he rammed his car, and when police arrived on the scene, he repeatedly drove into it.
In scenes similar to the film Falling Down, he snapped when staff refused to serve him 20 minutes after they had closed.
And when asked why he had lost his temper, Brown said: “I only did it because they wouldn’t give me a bargain bucket.”
Adrian Harris, prosecuting, said the KFC branch closed at 11pm on March 22 and four members of staff were cleaning up when Brown arrived at the drive-through at 11.20pm, asking to be served.
He said: “With the lights off, it was obviously shut. The defendant got out of the car and walked up to the window.
“ He was very angry. He wanted to eat and his anger was apparently because they were closed.”
Brown, of Llewellyn Walk, Corby shouted abuse at the staff, made threats and then got into his Peugeot 406.
Mr Harris said: “He appeared to drive off, but the defendant did not drive away.
“He drove straight at the large window at the front and drove through the window in the style of a ram - raid. The only things that stopped him driving fully inside were the tables, bolted to the floor. The defendant revved again and got out of his car.
“He grabbed a piece of the window frame, climbed through the smashed window, walked up to the counter and threatened a member of staff, who said he wanted to fight outside. The defendant damaged a TV monitor using the pole, then threw is across the counter towards the four staff like a javelin. He said ‘I’ll be back in five minutes with a group’.”
The court heard he drove off but was spotted by off-duty Pc John Cummins who thought a ram raid was in progress, called 999 and decided to follow him into Pytchley Court. However, Brown soon realised he was being followed.
Mr Harris said: “The defendant drove straight into Pc Cummin’s car, then reversed away and drove into it again. Pc Cummins had retreated to about 12 feet away to a nearby alleyway. Fortunately, there was a concrete bollard between him and the defendant because the defendant drove at him quickly with high revs and his tyres smoking. The defendant then smashed twice more into his car.”
Mr Harris said a marked police car, containing Pcs Ruth Hay and Neil Ochalek, arrived and saw Brown in his car, He said: “Pc Hay stopped about five metres away from him. he looked at them and laughed. The defendant drove at them and shunted them backwards.”
As Pc Ochalek got out of the car, Brown rammed it again.
Mr Harris said: “Pc Hay was terrified and thought at the time he was trying to kill her. She pressed her emergency button as the defendant was looking at her and laughing. He laughed throughout and to her, he looked ‘psychotic and deranged’.”
When the air bag in the police car deployed, Pc Hay was trapped in the car while Brown twice more rammed his vehicle into the police car with her still inside. After the fourth collision, she was able to open the door and ran off, but Brown again drove into the police car.
The court heard he then decamped and threatened to take on the officers but ran off and once other police arrived, he was found hiding on a garage roof. It took pepper spray and more officers to finally subdue him, as he threatened: “I’ve got Hep C, I’ll spit on you.”
Mr Harris added: “Pc Hay was petrified and truly in fear for her life. Pc Cummins was left shaking and was still shaking when he wrote his statement. He believed the defendant was bent on destruction and in his 19 years as a policeman said he has seen nothing like it.”
Brown pleaded guilty to affray, damaging property, dangerous driving and attempted grievous bodily harm with intent.
Judge Lynn Tayton QC jailed him for seven years and banned him from driving until September 2018.
She said: “Throughout this incident, you were described as laughing and in a strange state. You used a car as a weapon and intended to cause more harm that actually resulted, This matter is aggravated because it was an offence committed against a police officer in a car.
“You are very lucky no body was very seriously injured.”
Maxine Krone, mitigating, said Brown was taking 13 types of medication at the time for an anxiety disorder.
When faced with the option of fight or flight, he had decided to fight, she added.