‘Family man’ avoids prison after driving car into parking warden in Northampton to dodge ticket

The judge, sentencing, called the defendant “arrogant” and said he showed “complete disregard” for the warden’s welfare

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:43 pm

A Northampton man has been handed a six month suspended prison sentence after a court heard he deliberately drove his car into a parking warden in an attempt to avoid a ticket.

Ermir Sefolli, aged 37, of Kensington Close in Northampton appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 3 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and assaulting a parking warden, amongst a string of other charges relating to the same incident.

The court heard that Sefolli - on Sunday November 24, 2019 at around 4pm - parked on a double yellow line in Sheep Street opposite his restaurant and business.

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Ermir Sefolli, aged 37, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, May 3.

A parking warden, who was out that day, prepared to put a ticket on Sefolli’s car when the defendant got back into his car, sounded his horn and “deliberately” drove forward slowly into the warden’s legs - the court heard.

It was then described to the court how Sefolli drove towards the warden again, knocking the victim backwards, before driving away to park in a nearby alleyway.

Andrew Jordan, prosecuting, said the victim experienced “shock and distress” following the altercation and did not want to go back to the same street in case he bumped into the defendant.

Mr Jordan added that the warden had to go to hospital, take three days off work and suffered with leg pain for three months.

Mr Copeland, defending, described Sefolli as a “family man,” who had a “tough start” coming to the UK as a child refugee before eventually setting up his own construction business and a restaurant.

The restaurant has since closed down following the coronavirus pandemic.

The court heard that Sefolli regularly borrows money from banks to fund building projects so a custodial sentence would have a significant impact on obtaining finance in the future.

Mr Copeland said: “He has been particularly industrious and worked very hard to build himself up from nothing and set a very important standard to follow for others in the community.”

The defence barrister added that Sefolli made a “terrible mistake in the heat of the moment” and he is of “good character” with no previous convictions and a caution in 2008 for a separate matter.

The court heard that Sefolli apologised a number of times about what took place and saved up £1,500 to pay to the victim in compensation.

Her Honour Judge Rebecca Crane, sentencing, told the defendant: “You have an arrogant attitude that you wanted to drive off and avoid the parking ticket. The pre-sentence report says you are remorseful but you still seek to partially blame the victim so your remorse is limited.”

Judge Crane added: “You showed complete disregard for [the warden’s] welfare. You did not stay at the scene and you drove off.”

Sefolli was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 12 months. The defendant was additionally ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work - which Judge Crane said he must prioritise over his own business - and pay £600 in compensation to the victim as well as £500 in prosecution costs.

Sefolli was also disqualified from driving for 12 months and he must pass an extended driving retest before he is allowed to drive again.