HAILSHAM: Trailer crash driver ignored warning signs

Jonathan Hobden
Jonathan Hobden

A MAN whose trailer came loose and hit a policewoman, leaving her in a coma, has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.

Jonathan Hobden, 39, of Bagham Lane, Herstmonceux, appeared before Lewes Crown Court on Friday March 4, charged with driving a motor vehicle dangerously.

It arose after the trailer on his Land Rover Discovery became detached on the A267 at Wellshurst and ploughed into Sergeant Wendy Dowman’s convertible.

Prosecuting, Amy Packham told the court the results of the September accident had been, “catastrophic” for the Eastbourne policewoman, who has remained unconscious ever since.

“She is somewhere between a vegetative state and a non-conscious state.

“She is breathing through a tracheotomy and being fed by members of staff,” she said.

The public gallery at Lewes Crown Court was filled with members of Sergeant Dowman’s family, including her mother, who was in the car at the time of the September 5 accident.

The Crown Prosecution Service’s case centred around the condition of Hobden’s 14 ft Williams trailer and the way it was attached to his Land Rover.

The court heard how the trailer’s safety pin had two fixings, including a spring-loaded locking device which was not working properly when the crash took place.

The secondary safety pin was not present and the third breaking cable, in the event that those two features failed, in the crown’s case, was not properly fixed and had simply “dropped away.”

The court heard that Hobden became aware some way throughout the journey that the safety pin wasn’t there.

“He had an opportunity to stop but didn’t. The crown accepts that,” said Ms Packham.

Defending, Philip Wakeham, described his client as, “a man of good character”.

Hobden was disqualified from driving and released on unconditional bail until March 24 when he will be sentenced.

Left: Jonathan Hobden outside Lewes Crown Court