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Man kept bag of rocks in car to throw at 100 vehicles

PUBLISHED: 07:31 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:28 19 November 2019

Aaron Hurley, who was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to a three-year community order with a requirement to receive mental health treatment during this period    Photo: BBC Look East/PA Wire

Aaron Hurley, who was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court to a three-year community order with a requirement to receive mental health treatment during this period Photo: BBC Look East/PA Wire

A man kept a bag of rocks in his car and drove around launching them at as many as 100 other vehicles during a spree lasting more than two weeks.

Taxi driver David Thompson's Toyota Avensis was badly damaged when a brick was thrown at car on the A143. Picture: David ThompsonTaxi driver David Thompson's Toyota Avensis was badly damaged when a brick was thrown at car on the A143. Picture: David Thompson

Judge David Goodin said it was "remarkable" that nobody was killed as a result of 25-year-old Aaron Hurley's actions on the Norfolk-Suffolk border.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, told Monday's hearing at Norwich Crown Court that police examined Hurley's car when he was arrested in June this year.

"They found a 'bag for life' that contained 19 stones of various different sizes," he said.

"It seemed fairly clear that what he was in the habit of doing during the period covered is he's driving his motor vehicle along... and he would launch a stone out of his vehicle at other vehicles oncoming.

Gemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon ParkinGemma Wiles from Harleston was left badly shaken when her car was hit by an object on the A143 . Picture: Simon Parkin

"In many cases the stones strike the other vehicles. In many cases there was damage."

One witness, whose eight-year-old daughter was in the front passenger seat of his car, described hearing a "large bang" before his windscreen shattered, with his child suffering minor cuts to the face.

Mr Ivory said: "This could have produced a situation where significant injury or fatality was caused. The danger is obvious."

Hurley, who lives with his aunt and uncle in Langley, Norfolk, admitted at earlier hearings to four counts of endangering road users and three counts of causing criminal damage in relation to incidents between May 25 and June 9 this year.

Gemma Wiles' Skoda car was written off after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss. Picture: Gemma WilesGemma Wiles' Skoda car was written off after being struck by an object on the A143 between Harleston and Diss. Picture: Gemma Wiles

He asked for 86 further matters to be taken into consideration.

Gavin Cowe, mitigating, said the offending was a manifestation of the defendant's schizophrenia, for which he was now receiving treatment.

He said Hurley had not been in trouble before.

Judge Goodin said Hurley's actions "so easily could have" caused serious injuries or a fatality and that it is "remarkable that it didn't".

"It's almost incredible that nobody was more seriously hurt than was actually the case from chucking hard missiles that ended up, as often as not, on someone's windscreen, smashing them while travelling at 50 to 60mph," he said.

He added: "It makes the blood run cold to think what it might have been."

Judge Goodin sentenced Hurley to a three-year community order with a requirement to receive mental health treatment during this period.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months, ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge and ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Mr Ivory said that £17,000 of damage was caused, based on information from 37 complainants, but "there are a good many more than that" and the true total could be triple the amount stated.

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