Teenage driver 'trying to break up a fight' plows car into a crowd of young people leaving two women seriously injured
19-year-old McCauley Cox denies that he ran over Sophie Poole and Emma Nicholls with his Ford C-Max despite video proof suggesting otherwise.
Two women were seriously injured after a teenager used his car as a "weapon" in an attempt to run over a rival who was fighting his friend, per reports. A brawl broke out outside a nightclub in Newport city center on April 29 when 19-year-old McCauley Cox deliberately drove into a crowd of young people. Cox's car was seen approaching a crowd of pedestrians in a CCTV footage released Wednesday outside the Courtyard nightclub when some patrons began to fight. The Ford C-Max carrier hit one of them before people start kicking and hitting the vehicle and confronted Cox on either side.
A few seconds later, Cox accelerated the car and climbed the pavement before plowing into a group of people, running over Sophie Poole and Emma Nicholls in the process. The unsuspecting victims were sitting on a curb on the pavement. After running them over, Cox proceeded to reverse his car and race ahead once more over their bodies before reversing down the street once again. Partygoers at the scene began smashing his windscreen and attacking from both sides, prompting Cox to accelerate out of the road at full speed, thereby missing other pedestrians by inches, Daily Mail reports.
Authorities who were searching for the vehicle eventually found it later in the day "engulfed in flames". However, Cox denied intentionally torching it and told responding officers that he decided to park it up after its engine began to smoke.
During the trial on Wednesday, Cox claimed he was "frightened" by revelers threatening to "batter" him in his vehicle and said he ran over both Poole and Nicholls by accident. Spinning a completely different account, he asserted that he drove near the crowd in order to break up the fight.
However, prosecutor James Wilson went ahead and accused Cox of deliberately trying to run over a man who was in an altercation with his friend, but missed and ran over the two young women instead. Both women are reportedly in their early twenties. "Today you say you wanted to try and break up the fight," Wilson said. "But you know full well you weren't breaking a fight up. You were using the car as a weapon. You know full well the reason you went for that man is because he was confronting a friend of yours. You deliberately drove that car at that man with intent to cause him very serious harm. And you are responsible for those girls' injuries because of your anger and annoyance at that man who was confronting your friend."
But Cox denied he intended to hit the man in question, who is yet to be identified. He also denied any knowledge of having run over Poole and Nicholls despite driving over and reversing against their bodies twice in a row, prompting witnesses at the scene to assault his vehicle. "It felt like I hit something and I went into the air and came down and I was stuck," Cox said. "It was like it was stuck on top of something and I couldn't move forward. I wasn't paying attention properly. I wasn't thinking. I thought I hit a bin or a bollard. I only realized I'd hit someone when I was arrested."
Cox claimed he had tried to flee by driving around the enraged crowd and mounted the pavement after he was "scared" by people threatening him through his side window. However, Wilson refuted his claims and asserted that according to the CCTV footage, the pavement was occupied by several pedestrians at the time of the incident, including the two victims. Poole needed specialist skin grafts and Nicholls suffered a lacerated spleen after they were repeatedly run over by Cox's vehicle, the Newport Crown Court had previously heard. While Cox admitted unlawfully injuring the two university friends, he denied that he had intended to drive the car into the unidentified male. He denies two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The trial continues.