Hereford & Worcester

Peer's daughter guilty of 'blind fury' drive in Malvern

Linda Granville outside Worcester Crown Court
Image caption Linda Granville claimed her brakes had failed

A peer's daughter who smashed her Land Rover through church gates in Worcestershire in a "blind fury" has been convicted of dangerous driving.

The Honourable Linda Granville, 61, daughter of the late Lord Granville, was also convicted of causing criminal damage to Great Malvern Priory's gates.

She jumped a red light, narrowly missed pedestrians and hit two other cars in Malvern, Worcester Crown Court heard.

Granville, of Malvern, claimed her vehicle's brakes failed.

Judge Michael Cullum granted Granville bail and adjourned sentencing until next month.

A total of 11 witnesses gave evidence at the five-day trial, detailing how the Land Rover was involved in an accident before and after Granville visited the church.

Granville, who has a previous conviction for criminal damage after crashing into a gatepost in 2008, cut across and clipped a Skoda Octavia before speeding away, the jury heard.

She was then seen driving erratically and sounding her horn continuously as she pulled into the priory.

'Heavy car'

It prompted a concerned window cleaner to close the church gates and another witness to contact the police.

But she then smashed through the gates - causing £1,500 of damage - before hitting a stationary Peugeot which was pushed into a hedge.

A mother holding her three-year-old daughter was standing only a metre (3ft) away when the gates were hit, the jury heard.

Another pedestrian was just four metres (13ft) away from the Peugeot when it mounted the pavement.

However, the defendant claimed her Freelander became out of control when it sustained brake failure moments after a verger "slammed" the priory's gates into the vehicle.

Granville had claimed her "extremely heavy car" was impossible to stop without brakes.

She also told the court she had been attacked by the verger, and crashed while trying to escape.

However, the verger told the court he had made no physical contact with her and was not even outside at the time of the incident.

The jury rejected Granville's defence and accepted the prosecution's case she deliberately crashed through the gates after dropping off a folder for a priest at the church.

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