A driver ploughed into innocent bystanders and sent revellers running for refuge in a drug-fuelled rampage at Blackpool’s North Pier.
Adam Clarke, 30, has been jailed for six years and four months after using a rented Peugeot to injure and terrorise members of the public who stepped when he was attacking his girlfriend.
One woman suffered a broken heel and hand when she was flung over the bonnet of the car at 4.30am on July 24 2021.
Another woman was pinned against metal railings by the vehicle, causing cuts and bruises. The railings collapsed, taking the brunt of the impact and preventing more serious injury to the woman, Preston Crown Court heard.
He then used the car to “stalk and terrorise” the group before speeding away from the police at speeds of 110mph on the promenade – a 30mph zone.
Damian Nolan, prosecuting, told Preston Crown Court Clarke and his girlfriend Gemma Maddox had hired the Peugeot to travel from Manchester to Blackpool on the weekend on July 23.
At around 4.30am they were in the Chaos nightclub when Clarke became irate at the length of time his girlfriend had taken visiting the toilet.
A row between them spilled onto the street, and Clarke called his partner a slag and a fat bitch, accusing her of talking to other men.
Clarke got into the hire car, which was parked nearby and was seen driving erratically in the area.
He pulled up next to his girlfriend, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the ground, causing a cut to her knee and tearing her tracksuit bottoms.
Members of the public intervened but Clarke punched one woman in the face.
A group of men saw what was happening and tried to calm Clarke down, but the defendant ran at the aggressively before telling them; “I’ll get my strap (firearm)” and returning to the car.
The group walked away towards North Pier, but Clarke got back in the vehicle and pulled a U-turn before mounting the kerb and speeding directly towards them.
Kimberley Butterworth was struck by the car and was thrown over the bonnet before falling on the pavement. Emma Morris was also struck by the vehicle which pinned her against metal railings.
As people rushed to help the women, Clarke reversed and drove around the area in an erratic manner.
“It is clear you used the vehicle indiscriminately to terrorise those at the scene”, said Judge Robert Altham, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, sentencing.
Clarke returned to the scene and tried to pursue one of the men who had been involved in the earlier altercation.
“You were only unable to reach him because the turning circle of the car did not allow you to do so”, Judge Altham said.
Members of the public took refuge behind portable toilets and street furniture to try and protect themselves from Clarke’s rampage.
“People on the street were terrified”, the judge said. “You were in that same area deliberately stalking and terrorising the people you had injured and the people who were present when you injured them.”
The police arrived and followed Clarke as he tore down the promenade. The street was busy with revellers spilling out of bars and clubs and traffic using the road, the court heard.
Police officers recorded speeds of 106mph on their onboard equipment, but were unable to catch up with Clarke.
He abandoned the vehicle in Greystoke Place and was arrested in Starbeck Avenue.
A saliva test revealed traces of cocaine and cannabis in Clarke’s system. He told officers: “I know what I’ve done. Karma. Karma is what I’ve done.”
In his interview he admitted he was heavily intoxicated and did not remember much of what had happened.
He pleaded guilty to GBH with intent, attempted GBH with intent, assault by beating and dangerous driving.
As a result of the collision Kimberley Butterworth had to undergo surgery under general anaesthetic for her injuries. She also had to ask a family member to move into her home to help her care for her children.
Mr Nolan said Clarke has a number of previous convictions for violence including offences against a former partner and against two female members of his own family.
Ricky Holland, defending, said Clarke showed “genuine contrition and remorse” for what he had done. He had a difficult upbringing and had been involved in gangs and violence.
He said if there was to be a Eureka moment, this would be it.
Passing sentence, Judge Altham said: “Even within the category of highly dangerous weapons, a car driven in this way is particularly troubling. It has the capacity of causing death or serious injury to multiple people.
“I also note that although you didn’t have a forearm, there was a threat of a firearm used. You were fortunate that Kimberley Butterworth fell from the bonnet and did not sustain grave injuries. You were fortunate that the barrier collapsed, mitiating the injuries to Emma Morris.
“The assault in relation to your former girlfriend was degrading, given the language that was used.
“This is a serious case, given the speed, the use of the car to terrorise already injured and already terrorised people, and teh fact that you were heavily intoxicated.”
He sentenced Clarke, of Arnfield Road, Stockport, to five years and four months for the GBH on Kimberley Butterworth, four years to run concurrently for the attempted GBH of Emma Morris, two months to run consecutively for the assault by beating of Gemma Maddox and Rebecca Butterworth, and 10 months consecutive for dangerous driving.
Clarke was also disqualified from driving for seven years and one month.