Driver was kidnapped

JAILED: Vincent Maher.
JAILED: Vincent Maher.

A MAN has been jailed for making a woman drive him across town at knifepoint during ‘the most terrifying 10 minutes of her life’.

Vincent Maher got into Catherine Howard’s car at a supermarket in Dewsbury and told her to drive to a graveyard while he held a knife with a three inch blade.

Tony Kelbrick, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court on Friday how Mrs Howard withdrew £200 from the cash machine at Sainsbury’s in Railway Street on September 7.

When she got into her car, Maher got into the front passenger’s seat. Mrs Howard then followed his instruction to drive to a graveyard while he held the knife.

The court heard how 39-year-old Maher kept changing his instructions then told Mrs Howard to stop and get out, but she refused to leave her car and drove on until he told her to stop again.

When she did so, he ran off with her handbag, including the £200 she had withdrawn, her house keys and letters with her address on it.

She had to go to a nearby house to call the police, as her mobile phone had also been taken.

Mr Kelbrick said: “Mrs Howard was described as being in shock, shaking and crying.”

Police identified Maher from CCTV footage taken at Sainsbury’s.

When they arrested him on September 8, they found a small number of cannabis plants at his home in Calder View, Ravensthorpe.

Georgina Coade, mitigating, said Maher had told Mrs Howard that he would not harm her during the incident and that he had shown remorse.

She said: “Rather bizarrely, as he ran away from the scene, he apologised to the victim, but he appreciates how it must feel to go through the incident as she did.”

The judge, Recorder Richard Woolfall, sentenced Maher to four years in prison for false imprisonment and robbery, and imposed no separate penalty for production of cannabis.

Maher had pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing.

Mr Recorder Woolfall said: “You forced [Mrs Howard] to drive away for 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes must have been the most terrifying 10 minutes of her life and they will stay with her for the rest of her days.”