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Judge spares Ogbourne man from unpaid work
Motorist Dean Lockwood, who sped off with a garden centre manager clinging to the side of his car, has been told he doesn't have to complete his unpaid work.
Lockwood, who also got his curfew lifted at weekends after a month, did half of the 300 hours he was ordered to do when a judge decided not to jail him.
But after the 45-year-old said his diabetes had got worse, he was on the sick with depression and his racehorse transit business had collapsed he was told he wouldn't have to do the remaining 150 hours.
Lockwood, of Ogbourne St George, had been suspected of stealing after he was seen loading plants into the boot of his Range Rover at the Swindon Garden Centre in Kingsdown.
When the store boss approached him about paying for the goods he sped away with the manager hanging on to the side of the vehicle.
Lockwood said he panicked, as an unknown man had leaned through a window, driving out of the car park and on to the road with him hanging on to the side of the vehicle.
After more than 100 metres, at speeds of up to 25-30mph, the garden centre worker had to make a jump for it, suffering cuts and bruises as he hit the ground.
The defendant claimed he was suffering a bad reaction to a double dose of prescription medication at the time.
Lockwood pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving and received an eight month jail term suspended for two years.
A charge of theft was dropped after medical evidence was served on prosecutors when the case appeared at Swindon crown court.
As part of the punishment he was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work, complete an 8pm to 5am curfew for six months and pay £1,500 compensation.
A few weeks later he was back before the court saying his business would collapse if the curfew stayed in place and the judge lifted it on weekends, when work was busiest.
Now he has had the unpaid work removed leaving him with no conditions on the suspended sentence, which continues for another year.
Lockwood, who is signed off work with depression, said he is taking his son out of a fee-paying school as a result of the business folding and his house was on the market.
He said his diabetes had got so bad that he was suffering from seizures as a result of the condition.
Removing the remaining unpaid work Recorder Jeremy Wright said "All that is left now is the remaining 12 and a half months of suspended sentence.
"No curfew, no more unpaid work, no more supervision, no more nothing. That's it. Do you understand.
"That is thanks really to the probation service who has seen how keen you were to do the work if you could."
He is still banned from the road for another year and until he passes an extended retest.