He is no longer my son

Judo champion Kerry Finney
Judo champion Kerry Finney

A FORMER martial arts champion has disowned her son after he left her with career-wrecking injuries by deliberately dragging her along the road with his van.

Emotional Kerry Finney said the courts should “throw away the key” after Robert Knowles, 24, admitted dangerous driving and wounding.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Mrs Finney, 42, a former national and European judo gold medallist, suffered serious head injuries while trying to get her two grandchildren out of her son’s vehicle as he drove off saying he would never bring them back.

She had been granted temporary custody of the youngsters at the time at her home in Speakman Avenue in Newton-le-Willows.

The court was told she begged her son to stop the vehicle as he pulled her along.

But he showed no mercy and continued to drive along her road, despite her being unable to keep up.

After more than 100m she eventually gave up her hold and fell to the ground.

Joanne Maxwell, prosecuting, said Mrs Finney fractured the back of her skull as she fell.

Witnesses found her lying in a “crucifix” shape with blood coming from her head and ear.

Mrs Finney then spent four days in Warrington Hospital where she underwent repeated CT scans. She also suffered tinnitus, fractures to her inner ear, vomiting and dizziness.

In a moving victim impact statement, Mrs Finney detailed the “devastating” consequences of the incident, saying she was now unable to perform her job as a full-time judo instructor.

She said her hopes of competing for a world masters title were “ruined”.

Miss Maxwell also told how the incident had left Mrs Finney contemplating suicide after losing all her ambition.

Judge David Aubrey QC adjourned sentence on Knowles, of Loch Street, Orrell, after the court heard he did not accept the seriousness of his mother’s injuries.

After the hearing, Mrs Finney spoke exclusively to the St Helens Reporter.

She said: “I do not consider him my son anymore. From now on he is just Robert Knowles.

“There have always been issues around him, which I don’t want to go into. But, thankfully, I have two other children who have been very supportive. They cannot believe their brother has done this.

“He needs to pay for what he is done. I know it isn’t going to happen but they should throw away the key as far as I’m concerned.”

Mrs Finney says she now finds it impossible to compete in the sport at which she once excelled.

She added: “When I was thrown all the colour drained out of me and my body went into shock. I keep having to challenge my brain to perform actions that I used to be able to perform automatically.

“As for the depression, that was brought on by both the head injury and the fact that it was inflicted by my own son.”

Knowles was bailed until April 27 when independent medical evidence will be produced.

But the judge warned him: “I am granting you bail, but that is no indication whatsoever of sentence. You should expect an immediate custodial sentence.”