Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 12:25 UK

'Suicide mission' driver jailed

Crashed car
Three panels of glass at the House of Fraser store were smashed

A driver who tried to kill himself by crashing his car into the front of a department store has been jailed.

James Williams, 24, sped down the M32 in Bristol aiming to drive into the front of the House of Fraser store at the Cabot Circus Shopping Centre.

Another driver caught up in the crash when Williams's Ford Puma rolled on to his Audi A6 suffered major injuries.

At Bristol Crown Court, Williams was jailed for 21 months after admitting dangerous driving and criminal damage.

Multiple fractures

Bristol Crown Court was told on Thursday that after going through a red light, Williams, of Fabian Drive, Stoke Gifford, hit a wall at a pedestrian crossing.

This flipped his car on to the roof of another car whose driver, Jamie Haynes, was waiting at traffic lights next to the House of Fraser store.

Mr Haynes's Audi was pushed on to its side and he suffered a fractured shoulder, four fractured spinal vertebrae, a broken rib and a punctured lung.

Williams's car then smashed into 30-foot plate glass windows at the House of Fraser store.

The defendant, who was suffering from depression, was thrown from the car and suffered multiple injuries in the crash.

Suicide note

His life was saved by passing paramedic Sarah Hodierne, who later received a commendation award from the Great Western Ambulance Service.

The crash, in the early hours of 12 December 2008, caused damage put at £213,722 to the department store, which had only been open for two months.

Williams, who still bears scars from the crash and has a limp, was banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended driving test in addition to his jail sentence.

The court was told the defendant had sent a series of texts to a work colleague indicating he wanted to end his life.

Police also found an apparent suicide note.

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Man thrown against store window
12 Dec 08 |  Bristol

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