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Man faces jail after driving military truck through police road block in 'reign of terror'

A man is facing jail after he drove a US Army truck into nearly a dozen vehicles following an argument with his partner, a court has heard.

Geoffrey Marshall drove the two-and-a-half ton truck at his partner's home, wrecking her car in the process.

The 41-year-old then went on a "reign of terror", driving the truck through a police road block, destroying four Avon and Somerset Police vehicles and damaging several other cars parked nearby.

Marshall was only arrested after police negotiators persuaded him not to jump from a bridge over the M5 motorway, North Somerset Magistrates' Court heard.

The incident began on the afternoon of Sunday 10 September with a row between Marshall and his partner, Kathryn Marshall Lam, at their home near Taunton, Somerset, over text messages she found on his mobile phone.

Paul Kelly, prosecuting, said Ms Marshall Lam left the property, fearing for her safety, and called the police.

When officers arrived at their home they found the defendant already behind the wheel of the 1958 M35 truck.

Mr Kelly said "they tried to reason with the defendant" but "these negotiations have failed" and Marshall "decided to start driving the vehicle".

"He has driven the vehicle into the property owned by Kathryn Marshall Lam, causing damage to the vehicle parked in front as well as quite a lot of structural damage to that property," he said.

"He has then made off from that location and driven at police cars, causing extensive damage to four police vehicles who were trying to block him."

'Damage to a large amount of parked vehicles'

Marshall then left the site and drove to the M5 motorway, got out of the vehicle and then on to a bridge crossing the motorway and "threatened suicide".

Police negotiated with him and were able to get him down before they arrested him.

"There was damage to a large amount of parked vehicles, which are reflected in the charges before the court," Mr Kelly added.

"During the argument with Ms Marshall Lam, he took her phone and smashed it, causing a small amount of glass to go into her hand. He has then thrown away her phone into a river."

'Deliberate and prolonged' dangerous driving

Mr Kelly described Marshall's dangerous driving as "deliberate and prolonged" and said the sentencing guidelines carry a starting point of 18 months in jail.

"The Crown suggest that what started as a reasonably low-level domestic dispute has escalated massively into what the Crown suggest is a reign of terror in relation to driving the large military vehicle, not only into the property of the complainant but also a large stretch of motorway involving four police vehicles and a number of civilian vehicles that were heavily damaged," he said.

"Therefore, we would suggest that the defendant at this current stage is unable to act rationally."

Marshall admits charges of dangerous driving and assault

Marshall admitted 12 charges of criminal damage, including destroying four police vehicles and his partner's Range Rover, as well as damaging her home, her iPhone, a council lamp post and four other cars. He also admitted charges of dangerous driving and assault by beating.

Nigel Yeo, defending, did not apply for bail.

Magistrates remanded Marshall into custody, ordering pre-sentence reports and imposing an interim driving ban.

Presiding justice Trevor Morgan said: "This was a reign of terror with what was damaged by the vehicle you were driving."

Marshall was remanded in custody and was scheduled to appear at Taunton Crown Court on 13 October for sentencing.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK.