Man jailed after hitting soldier in accelerating car outside nightclub
A 23-year-old man who left a soldier with a catalogue of debilitating injuries after driving a car into him at speed outside a nightclub has been jailed for eight years.
Hamza Ali Hussain accelerated in temper towards a group of revellers in the early hours of New Year's Day after his friends were involved in a "minor altercation" inside the TBC nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire.
Joshua Adams-Mitchell, who was not the intended target, suffered injuries described as "significant and debilitating" in the collision, leaving his future in the Army in doubt.
Hussain, of Middle Road, Westtown, Dewsbury, had not been in the nightclub but became "enraged" when his friends told him about an incident during the evening, Leeds Crown Court heard.
His friends pointed out the person responsible for the altercation and he circled outside the nightclub in a Mercedes C63 car that had been rented by an acquaintance and which he was not entitled to drive, having never passed a driving test.
He then accelerated towards the group containing his intended target, but hit Mr Adams-Mitchell as he stepped backwards into the road as the car approached.
Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, said the 22-year-old was thrown on to the windscreen, rolled over the top of the car and was then hurled 20-30 yards before landing in the road.
His injuries included facial fractures, injuries to his knee, damage to his right eye, rib and lung injuries and PTSD.
Hussain continued to accelerate as he hit Mr Adams-Mitchell and made no attempt to brake.
He immediately fled the scene and was arrested the following day.
In his victim statement, Mr Adams-Mitchell said the incident had impacted on himself and his partner, who had been suspended from her job, and said he felt worried and paranoid that "people were after him".
Mr Sharp said: "He is currently signed off as unable to work in a military role and his future career in the Army may be dependent on his recovery from PTSD and his knee injury, which require continued treatment."
At the time of the incident, a social media post by English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson fuelled claims Mr Adams-Mitchell had been targeted due to his military service.
But sentencing Hussain, who previously pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, Judge Robin Mairs said there was no reason for what he did that morning.
He told Hussain: "There had been minor altercations within the club. It is unclear what the nature of those were and they were, as I stress, minor altercations.
"There's no evidence of any dispute you had with Mr Adams-Mitchell, in particular I do not find any political motivation, on the evidence, to have struck him with your car.
"There's no reason or justification for your actions that morning.
"This was in the street outside a nightclub on one of the busiest nights of the year. You missed your intended victim and struck the unfortunate Mr Adams-Mitchell instead.
"It is clear the effect this has had upon his daily life. His social and familial relationships, it has damaged them substantially, it has changed his outlook on life and his confidence is substantially impaired."
Robin Frieze, in mitigation, said Hussain was "appalled" by what he had done and had no malice towards Mr Adams-Mitchell.
He added: "He is desperately sorry to the complainant and his family. He bears him no ill will at all and is appalled at what he did in the heat of the moment."
Hussain, who has previous driving convictions, sat in the dock wearing a grey, patterned jumper and looked down at the floor.
He was disqualified from driving for nine years.
Detective Inspector Mark Catney, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Hussain's actions that day were reckless and violent as he deliberately drove his car into a crowded area outside a busy nightclub on New Year's Day.
"This incident has left a young man with serious injuries.
"We welcome the sentence which has been handed down to Hussain today and hope that it will provide the victim and his family with closure and justice following this terrible ordeal."