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Learner driver stole partner's car and crashed it blaming 'extreme' panic attack

Charlotte Wise said she needed to get out of the house

New Mill Road in Holmfirth

A learner driver who stole her sleeping partner’s car and crashed it blamed an “extreme” panic attack.

Speeding Charlotte Wise hit another vehicle while behind the wheel of the Ford Focus and then failed to stop to check on the driver.

The incident happened on the morning of May 23 near to a junction off New Mill Road in Holmfirth.

Andy Wills, prosecuting, said that the driver of a Mazda 2 saw Wise’s car approaching in his rear view mirror at speed.

The 33-year-old appeared to slow before moving parallel to his car.

Mr Wills said: “He could see that there was going to be a collision due to the oncoming traffic.

“The vehicle collided with him and that driver failed to stop.

“The impact was very loud and he shunted to the left as the driver continued on her way.”

Kirklees magistrates were told that the man continued to follow Wise in his damaged vehicle to note down her details.

He then went to Huddersfield Police Station to report the accident, 30 minutes after it occurred at 10.30am.

Wise, who holds only a provisional licence, admitted that she took her partner’s car while he was sleeping and didn’t have permission to use that vehicle.

Huddersfield Police Station

She pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, failing to stop after an accident, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence and driving without insurance.

Magistrates heard that Wise, of White Wells Road in Scholes, had 84 offences to her name.

Of these 40 were theft-related but her last conviction was in April 2012.

Mike Sisson-Pell, mitigating, explained that Wise’s previous offending was down to her misuse of drugs.

However she had managed to transform her life after meeting her current partner, the court heard.

Mr Sisson-Pell said: “She has dealt with her habit but one of the leftovers from this has been mental health problems.

“Occasionally something triggers an extreme panic attack.

“What happened on this particular occasion was her partner was asleep, she suffered an anxiety attack and had to get out of the house.

“She took his car keys as she just needed to get away.”

Magistrates fined Wise £120 and told her to pay £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

She was banned from driving for 24 months.

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