Rucksack thrown at car caused £500 of damage

tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic14.
tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic14.

A HOMELESS mother of three, toting her possessions across Harrogate, threw a rucksack in to a busy main road and struck a car, the town’s magistrates were.

The court heard how Sara Jane McDonald’s actions had caused damage estimated at £500 to an Audi A4 as it was driven along the A59 Skipton Road towards the Empress Roundabout at 8.40am on January 14.

Prosecutor Steven Ovenden said the car driver had seen 43-year-old McDonald and a child on his left hand side. Something had been thrown into the road and the child had moved to retrieve it, causing the driver to brake to avoid hitting the youngster.

Mr Ovenden said McDonald had then thrown a rucksack at the car causing a one-inch dent in a wheel arch and scraping paint off a wing mirror. Although the company which owned the vehicle had not submitted a detailed compensation claim it had estimated the cost of repairs at around £500.

The driver had headed straight for the police station and within five minutes of reporting the incident McDonald, who told the court she was homeless but could be contacted via an address in Wedderburn Close, Harrogate, had been traced and detained.

She had told police officers she had been upset and distressed and had been considering self-harm. But, while she had only a vague memory of what happened, she had shown genuine remorse for what she had done to the car.

When McDonald pleaded guilty to criminal damage – the court heard her only previous conviction had come in October for damage and two counts of assault on police – her solicitor Helen Howard said the new offence had occurred at a time when she was going through a mental health crisis.

He had been in an abusive relationship which had resulted in the birth of three children. And while she was currently struggling she was unlikely to repeat her crime. She had spent every day of the last three weeks worrying about what she had done.

McDonald was fined £65 with £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.