Wrong-way tipper truck driver Patrick Denman jailed
A tipper truck driver who drove the wrong way down a road heading for his ex-wife's house has been jailed.
Patrick Denman, 36, quit his job and drove off from his depot in the truck.
Denman, of Ashington, Northumberland, almost hit his boss then headed the wrong way down a dual carriageway at rush hour, swerving towards a police car and driving through a red light.
The works vehicle stopped on a grass verge near Cramlington about 50 minutes after setting off.
At Newcastle Crown Court, Denman admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving and having no insurance in the incident in March and was jailed for six months.
The court heard he was on his way to his ex-partner's home to intimidate her.
Judge Amanda Rippon accepted Denman's personal expression of remorse and was told he had been having a nervous breakdown.
He was given a five-year restraining order and banned from driving for 15 months.
The court was told Denman, of North Seaton Road, stole the 32-tonne lorry from the Owen Pugh depot in Dudley, North Tyneside.
He had started work as normal at 07:00 GMT on 16 March but was called back to the depot an hour later.
Following a row with his boss over his timesheets, Denman, who had missed out on two promotions, headed to his vehicle.
Two colleagues tried to jump into the cab to force him to stop and they either fell or jumped as it continued through the depot gates. No-one was injured.
Denman drove for about 12 miles without incident until he was on the A1172, where he was spotted by officers in patrol cars and the force helicopter.
After crossing the central reservation, he performed a U-turn and headed back on the wrong side of the dual carriageway towards two stationary patrol cars sent to the incident.
He swerved towards one of them, went left through a red light into a housing estate, then immediately on to some grass where his truck got stuck.
Denman denied he was driving towards his ex-partner's home and said he had driven on to the grass to try to evade police.
Judge Rippon said: "Mr Denman, there really is only one appropriate sentence for someone who takes an HGV vehicle and drives it on public roads in rush-hour traffic against the traffic towards oncoming vehicles in the way you did."
He told the judge: "I am truly sorry for the inconvenience I have caused and I didn't mean to hurt anybody."