A MAN has been jailed for a vicious attack on his mum following a family dispute over custody of his children.
Robert Knowles was sent down for 20 months for the reckless attack on his mother, Kerry Finney, who was a judo champion.
The full-time judo instructor told a judge at the sentencing hearing how her life had been “devastated” by her injuries, which have left her struggling to carry out her job.
Jailing 24-year-old Knowles, who wept throughout most of the hearing, Judge David Aubrey QC said: “There is no suggestion that it was anything other than highly reckless.
“This case, in my judgement, represents a human tragedy. It represents a family tragedy.
“In my judgement that tragedy and that conflict and that irreparable rift between you and your mother, that regrettably now appears to be ever-lasting, has been fully illustrated before me this afternoon.”
The judge added that the fact Knowles, of Loch Street, Orrell, had challenged the extent of his mum’s injuries demonstrated the extent of the rift between the pair.
When he asked her about the possibility of a reconciliation Mrs Finney, who wiped away tears as she detailed her injuries, said: “Enough is enough.”
The former Olympic reservist told how she was released from Warrington Hospital after three days, but has suffered constant tinnitus, loss of memory, taste and smell and dizziness in the past 14 months since the attack.
The court heard that on the day of the incident, February 13 last year, Mrs Finney and her son argued over custody of his two children.
Joanne Maxwell, prosecuting, told how Knowles warned his mother, who had temporary custody, he would never bring the two young boys back as he drove away in his works van.
She tried to reach into the vehicle to get them out, but as she did so he continued to drive away, pulling her alongside him.
Mrs Finney begged her son to stop the vehicle, but Knowles showed no mercy and continued to drive along Speakman Avenue, Newton-le-Willows.
After more than 100m, as Knowles’s van crossed a junction, she gave up her hold and fell to the floor.
Witnesses found her lying in a “crucifix” shape with blood coming from her head and ear. She had repeated CT scans and spent several days in hospital being treated for a fractured skull.
In a moving victim impact statement, the former European champion said she was now unable to compete for a world masters title.