A TRACTOR driver has been handed a suspended prison sentence, fined £1,000 and ordered to undertake 100 hours’ unpaid work after running down his neighbour on a country lane in Churt.
Steven Anthony Domm, 54, of Hyde Lane, Churt, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on February 3 after pleading guilty to both careless driving and causing actual bodily harm.
It comes after the court was shown footage of Domm driving a tractor at his neighbour David Catchpole on April 15, 2019, forcing his victim to dive into a verge of stinging nettles (see below for video – warning, contains swearing).
Mr Catchpole injured his arm in the process, and was off work for two weeks as a result.
Domm, who has previously been involved in several land disputes with his neighbours, was fined £1,000 and his driving licence endorsed with eight penalty points.
He was also ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, and handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
A restraining order was granted, preventing him from contacting Mr Catchpole or his wife Sally, or setting foot on their land, for two years. And he was also ordered to pay £800 in court costs, and £1,000 in compensation.
Mr Catchpole was attempting to film Steve Domm dumping soil on Hyde Lane, Churt, in April 2019 – as directed to do so by both the police and Surrey County Council – when Domm turned his tractor against his next-door neighbour of some 12 years.
Mr Catchpole said he was hesitant to film his neighbour, but added “the police and council said they couldn’t do anything without evidence, so in a way I didn’t have an option”.
But although he feared a confrontation, he never suspected Domm would “actually try to run me over”.
He added: “Our barrister made the point in court that this could have been murder. And it could have been.
“Luckily, I’m good at falling because I ride horses. But if I hadn’t had that experience, and had gone into panic mode, it would have been another thing entirely.”
Mr Catchpole injured his arm in the incident, which kept him from working in his stables for about two weeks.
But the episode has also taken a toll psychologically.
“It’s always on your mind,” he continued. “You think, ‘if that really did happen, what else can happen?”
Speaking after Domm’s sentencing, Mr Catchpole added: “What happened, happened, and what the courts decide is down to them. As long as somebody acknowledges that something went wrong, I’m happy. I just hope the guy learns from it.”
It comes just months after Mr Catchpole and his wife Sally won a costly High Court land dispute with their opposite neighbours, Steven and Sandra Sammut, late last year.
Domm had earlier given evidence for Mr and Mrs Sammut during that dispute, in 2018 at Winchester County Court.