A gay businessman who deliberately mowed down a man with his car and left him for dead in ‘revenge’ for homophobic abuse has been jailed for 12 years.
Finance company boss Aaron McDonald, 31, ran down 25-year old Musa Dem in his Vauxhall Corsa after the victim branded him a ‘f****t boy’ during an argument.
The impact smashed the windscreen of the car before Mr Dem was thrown off the vehicle when the driver braked sharply.
McDonald then ran over Mr Dem again and the victim was briefly dragged along the street by the vehicle.
Mr Dem was left fighting for life with severe injuries including a fractured pelvis, fractured spine, fractured collar bone and broken left knee and now has to use a catheter.
McDonald, who had been drinking Southern Comfort with his partner in Manchester’s Gay Village, fled back to his apartment in the city centre but was arrested four hours later. Tests showed he was just under the drink drive limit.
At Manchester Crown Court, McDonald wept after being convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Prosecutor Sara Haque told how the 5.20am attack on March 26, 2017, was caught on CCTV.
The court heard he had been with boyfriend Max Kent at Void nightclub and had drunk up to five Southern Comfort and Lemonades – at least one of which was a double measure.
Miss Haque said: ‘They were thrown out of the Void nightclub due to the bad behaviour of Mr Kent and became separated.
‘The defendant is seen walking towards Princes Street where an altercation starts with the victim and a group of men the victim was with.
‘He then became involved in an altercation after two of the victim’s friends were making offensive comments towards the female of the group.
‘The defendant reprimanded the group for making these offensive comments but the victim called him ‘f****t boy’ in return and it is clear from the CCTV that after some discussion and confrontation, the victim threw a punch at the defendant and then aimed a kicked at him.
‘The defendant walked away and got into his vehicle, whereas the victim and others walked off.
‘But as victim crossed the road the defendant reversed the vehicle and sped off accelerating, and he struck the group with his car.
‘A taxi driver describes hearing a ‘vrooming’ noise as the vehicle accelerated past him at an estimated 30 mph and other witnesses heard the screeching of tires as he drove past them in his Corsa.
‘The defendants vehicle hit the female member of the group but she was pushed by his vehicle out of the way, fortunately.
‘He then ran into the victim who was struck with force. He was thrown onto the windscreen of the car, cracking the windscreen with his body.
‘The defendant continued to drive with him on the bonnet of the vehicle and then he got the vehicle to break sharply, causing him to roll forwards off the vehicle and onto the road in front.
‘The defendant then continued forward running over him and dragging him under his vehicle for a few metres before his back wheel drove over him as the defendant turned left into a side street.
‘It was captured on CCTV his driving half a mile away, pulling up at a side street and climbing out of the passenger window and his hood over his head before returning to his flat.
‘He then consumed the remaining bottle of rosè wine, he had previously had one glass the night before.
‘He then passed out before being awoken by the police knocking on his door at 9.50am.
‘He told them to “chill out, I know why you’re here”.’
McDonald was breathalysed and was found to have 34 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.
But Miss Haque added: ‘The toxicologist said the defendant had been under the influence at the time he drove and would have given a wrong reading.
‘The injuries to the victim included a fracture to the pelvis, significant damage to his bladder, he had required numerous operations to his pelvis, a fractured spine and a broken left knee which required further metal plates.
‘He remained in hospital for two weeks until he discharged himself. He requires a catheter. He has been suffering with his mental health problems also.’
In a statement Mr Dem said: ‘I often think about what happened and have thoughts of being run over.
‘I sometimes feel depressed when I see a vehicle and I’m seeing my GP regularly for physical injuries. I get pains in my pelvis, collar bone and left knee.’
McDonald was intially charged with attempted murder as well as GBH but pleaded not guilty to all charges.
He claimed that he got into the car in a ‘panic’ looking for sanctuary and was aware of hitting somebody – but had no idea who it was.
Defence lawyer Hugh Barton said: ‘This offence was entirely out of character for him. He is a young man with difficulties and vulnerabilities in his past growing up.
‘There was domestic violence suffered by his mother at the hands of his step father. He had problems with his own sexuality and rejections from his family.
‘He has been subjected to abuse of this nature of numerous occasions. He struggles to deal with his emotions and his temper but it is an aggravating feature that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.
‘He worked hard, he was successful, he set up his own financial business, that has fallen wayside.
‘He has shown some insight into the effects of his actions and will be a productive member of society.’
Sentencing Judge Michael Leeming told McDonald: ‘You became involved in a discussion where the victim called his female friend a ‘silly stupid sl*t’.
He allegedly said to you that you were a “f****t boy”. There was some pushing and shoving before you got into your car.
‘The victim has suffered extremely serious injuries that he is still suffering with, some 15 months later.
‘He has regular appointments with his GP about his physical injuries and he has pain in his pelvis when he urinates or eats.
‘You said to the jury that you panicked and sought sanctuary in your car. But you did not report this to the police, despite going back to the scene and seeing emergency vehicles attending the victim and pedestrians.
‘You continue to deny your intention to cause any serious harm although you are apparently genuinely remorseful and show insight into the effect of your actions upon him. However you deliberately set off to run him over when you saw him in the road.’
McDonald was also banned from driving for 11 years.