John Teasdale, of Trull, jailed for mowing down two boys in his car

A CARE care home boss has been jailed for driving his car to mow down boys who broke into his ‘haunted house’.

Former private school headmaster John Teasdale used his large pick up car as a weapon as he mounted a pavement twice to strike the boys as they ran away.

Teasdale, from Trull, who used to run a school in Weston-super-Mare, was furious after a series of break-ins at the derelict nursing home in Yeovil.

The 73 year old was jailed for 18 months after he admitted unlawful wounding, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Anjali Gohil told Taunton Crown Court the property had featured on social media and the internet as being empty and there were suggestions it was haunted.

She said:”Six children had decided to go and enter that property. They did so while the defendant was present at the time. When they realised someone was inside they all ran away.”

But the court heard Teasdale, who owns various care homes in the South West, brandished a stick and chased after them shouting, before getting into his Ford Range pick up and pursuing them down the road.

He mounted the pavement twice and struck two of the six boys aged between 15 and 17.

He first hit a 16- year-old before avoiding an adult pedestrian and then mounting the kerb again and striking the second youth who was 17.

Eye witnesses said the boys were “jumping out of the way”, but the two injured lads did not and the adult pedestrian said the dangerous driving was “horrific” as the pick up bounced up and down at 30mph.

The more seriously injured boy suffered a head injury and cuts which needed stitches, and grazes to his hands and knees where he fell. The other boy suffered grazes, bruises and scratches.

Miss Gohil said some boys “were clearly injured but Teasdale sped away from the scene and he did not stop after hitting the two kids”.

In police interview, Teasdale said he was “very angry” that somebody had broken into his nursing home and vandalised it.

He said he had put up warning signs around the property after a series of break ins at the property where equipment had been stolen.

Miss Gohil said it was a “silly prank by some kids” at a property said to be haunted but they had been “chased and attacked with a car”.

“These were deliberate acts not simply reckless and he knew he had hit someone and appreciated it was very serious,” she added.

The mother of the more seriously hurt boy said the incident in October 2019 had had “an absolutely massive effect” on him and he no longer goes out.

She said he had tried to take his own life because he feared “Teasdale would get away with what he did and would come and find him”.

Edward Hetherington, defending, said Teasdale and his wife had built up a successful care home company looking after 150 residents in a number of homes in the region.

But they were unable to turn around the fortunes of the site in Yeovil and they were forced to close it costing them £120,000 a year to stand empty.

He said people broke into the property stealing equipment and a group called Urban Explorers put out a YouTube video of them breaking into it causing Teasdale “anger and frustration” as he was trying to sell the property.

When the grandfather heard the boys kicking the front door “it was the straw that broke the camel’s back”, said Mr Hetherington, who added that Teasdale was normally a “calm, mild mannered man” who was “distraught” at his actions.

Teasdale was also banned from driving for 33 months after a judge jailed him saying he had “snapped” and “reached the end of his tether”.

Somerset County Gazette | News