Man mowed down by car in Brighouse street disturbance pleaded with dad: "Don’t let me die”

A 28-year-old roofer was suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a BMW car after he bravely pushed his father out of the way of the vehicle.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 11:30 am
Martin Bland. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

A Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday (Tuesday) that James Gladwin ”somersaulted” through the air after the car driven by Martin Bland swerved into him during a disturbance in West Park Street, Brighouse, back in June 2019.

Prosecutor Richard Holland said Mr Gladwin suffered injuries including a fractured lower spine and a broken left hip and spent five or six days in a Leeds hospital.

He said the injured complainant had to be dragged out of the way when someone shouted that the BMW was reversing and as he lay on the road Mr Gladwin, who thought he was having a heart attack, told his father:”Don’t let me die.”

In a victim statement two years after the incident Mr Gladwin described how he still suffered nightmares and constant crippling back pain.

He had struggled to return to work and said:”I feel like I have been robbed of my career.

“My body is no way strong enough to do what I once took for granted.”

The court heard that Bland, of Lockbridge Way, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield, sped away from the scene at 120mph and when he was later arrested he was found to be over the drink-drive limit although he said he had been drinking after the incident.

In his police interview Bland said he had grabbed a man outside the Wetherspoons pub because he thought the man was chatting up his newly pregnant girlfriend.

Bland claimed he then came under attack from others - not linked to Mr Gladwin or his father - and when glasses were thrown at his car he drove off in a panic fearing for his own life.

“He said he couldn’t believe that he hit someone and was sorry he hit Mr Gladwin,” said Mr Holland.

The court heard that Bland suffered from entrenched mental health issues and he admitted a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in May this year after being assessed as fit to plead.

A psychological assessment indicated that Bland suffered with PTSD, paranoia and anxiety.

Barrister Jeremy Barton, for Bland, said his client was wholly wrong to behave as he did, but at the time he believed he was under attack.

He said Bland had shown remorse and had embraced help and therapy since the incident.

Recorder Taryn Turner said Mr Gladwin had been a man in the “prime of his life” who had now lost his employment and suffered long term effects.

“It’s quite clear that his future prospects, plans to go and live in Australia, plans for a new life, have been put on hold, if not permanently, certainly for the time being,” said the judge.

She decided that Bland should be dealt with as a dangerous offender and sentenced him to six-and-a-half years in jail with an additional extended licence period of three-and-a-half years.

Bland was also banned from driving for two years following his release from prison.

“I have no doubt in concluding that the car was used as a highly dangerous weapon in this case,” said Recorder Turner.

She added that with hindsight it was obvious to see that Bland could have killed Mr Gladwin, his father or anybody else who happened to get in his way that night.