A DRINK-DRIVER who claimed to be taking a heavily pregnant woman to hospital to give birth ended up attempting to run a man over, mounting a pavement near a primary school and crashing into two cars.

Burnley Crown Court heard how victim Alisha Ayoub was walking with her brother along Barkerhouse Road in Nelson at 2.45pm on December 20, 2018, when she heard a blue Ford Fiesta being driven by Michael Cheetham suddenly come to a stop in the middle of the road.

Prosecuting, Fiona McNeill said a woman in the passenger side of the Fiesta began pointing towards Ms Ayoub and her brother, before getting out of the vehicle.

When Ms Ayoub asked the woman what her problem was as she stumbled towards her, she said there wasn’t a problem. She then punched Ms Ayoub in the face.

Ms McNeill said Ms Ayoub understandably punched the woman back and the two women grappled on the floor.

Ms Ayoub got up and walked towards Robert Street.

As she did she became aware of the Fiesta which stopped next to her and then set off at speed towards her brother.

The car was then driven at Ms Ayoub and although there was no contact with her, it did crash into a taxi.

Cheetham then put the Fiesta, which now had a punctured tyre, into reverse and set off towards Netherfield Road.

Ms McNeill said that as witness Zain Hamshi turned into Robert Street he heard screaming and could see people in the street.

He could see the Fiesta on the pavement trying to squeeze past bollards at a time when there were some children on the pavement.

He heard someone shout 'stop' before the Fiesta was deliberately driven at someone.

Mr Hashmi followed the Fiesta but it then collided with his car.

He was flashing his lights and beeping his horn in an attempt to get the defendant to stop, Ms McNeill said. The Fiesta did eventually stop half a mile later.

When officers arrived, Cheetham agreed to undertake a breathalyser test but denied he had been driving. He blew over twice the legal limit and was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Cheetham, of Carnforth Avenue, Rochdale, who has 32 convictions for 59 offences, admitted dangerous driving, drink-driving, failing to stop after a road accident and driving without insurance.

Defending, Anthony Morris said his client was drinking heavily at the time following the breakdown of a long-term relationship. He said his client had sought help without the assistance of the probation service and now had a new partner and was looking to get back into employment.

Jailing Cheetham for 14 months but suspending it for two years, Judge Sara Dodd said she accepted that the defendant had never received help dealing with significant bereavements suffered in 2016 which was a contributory factor in his offending.

She said: “When I first looked at this case I didn’t see there was any prospect of rehabilitation. I have considered again the pre-sentence report and I think I was wrong in my initial judgement.”

Cheetham was given 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days, told to complete 150 hours' unpaid work and was banned from driving for 12 months. He must also take an extended retest.