Jailed: Drink and drug driver who stole car and ploughed into South Shields nursery

Joe Corner
Joe Corner

A drink driver who ploughed a stolen car through a nursery wall and into a childrens' playground has been jailed.

Joe Corner smashed the Nissan Juke through the outer wall around Ashfield Nursery, in South Shields, after taking a cocktail of alcohol and illicit drugs on March 4.

The Nissan car after it crashed through the wall at Ashfield Nursery.

The Nissan car after it crashed through the wall at Ashfield Nursery.


Newcastle Crown Court heard the 21-year-old had taken the car keys from a friend, who had previously helped him during troubled times, a few days earlier.


Corner, of Bunyan Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, driving with excess alcohol, driving while unfit and having no licence or insurance.


Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 18 months behind bars and imposed a two year driving ban.


The judge told Corner: "She did not deserve for you to take her car and drive it into the side of the nursery.


"Fortunately, it was 9pm and not at a time when the nursery was open.


"Things could have been worse but this is a very bad piece of driving.


"It was a bad and mean thing to do to someone who trusted you."


The judge said Corner, who has previous convictions and was out on licence from a previous prison sentence, was more than twice the drink-drive limit and had taken a "dreadful" cocktail of drugs, which included amphetamine, cocaine, morphine and other substances.


Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court Corner had taken the spare key to the Nissan car during a visit to the home of his friend a few days before the smash.


Miss Dowling said: "She has known the defendant for a number of years, she thinks about a decade, and has helped him on occasions when he had been having


trouble with his own parents."


The court heard the owner had not realised the key, or even the car, had gone from her driveway until she was informed it had been involved in a crash.


One witness to the smash said the car travelled at speed across a roundabout near the nursery and smashed into the wall.


The bystander, who had been jogging past the scene, found Corner slumped unconscious behind the wheel after the collision.


Miss Dowling said: "He couldn't get any reaction from him for a couple of minutes.


"He, at that stage, formed the opinion he clearly was not fit to drive."


The court heard the jogger kept Corner, who was "stumbling around" when he left the car, at the scene until the police arrived.


Corner was taken to hospital and arrested.


He told police his "head was mushed" and gave no real explanation for what happened.


Graeme Cook, defending, said Corner had innocently taken the car keys off his friend's baby a few days before and pocketed them without thinking.


Mr Cook said: "He had no intention, at that stage, of doing anything."