TWO police officers have spoken of their fear after a man smashed into them with his van when they were trying to speak to him about a domestic dispute.

Nigel Kell drive at the officers when he turned up at his former partner's home despite being banned by a non-molestation court order.

It was when the two officers approached Kell's van in the cul-de-sac that he drove straight into one and left the other hanging onto the bonnet before being thrown to the ground.

In moving testimonies, officers Dan Reed and John Smith, told Teesside Crown Court how the incident had left them traumatised and suffering from permanent injury following the events of July 13, 2019.

PC Reed said he has struggled with feelings of guilt since the incident as it was him who asked his colleague to attend the job with him and he had suffered a mental breakdown.

He said: "The fault and blame lie solely against the insane, criminal and deliberate actions of the driver Nigel Kell, who clearly did not care.

"How can you drive into someone and accelerate up the road with me hanging onto the bonnet, in desperation not to go under the wheels?"

He added: "I firmly believe he used that vehicle to deliberately assault me, I was not in any sort of control whatsoever, he was in control of his vehicle. At that time John and I were just disposable objects for him to assault."

The Northern Echo: Nigel KellNigel Kell

And PC John Smith, who has had a knee joint replacement since the incident, added: "I still think about what happened on a weekly basis and this is still the case. Sometimes out of the blue it hits me hard and I find myself tearful, I don't like this.

"I feel I got off lightly as opposed to what could have happened or could have been the ultimate outcome. It was only a matter of weeks after this incident that a police officer was killed in a similar scenario – this had a huge impact on me and I felt guilty that I escaped with the injuries that I did and survived."

The 52-year-old, of Cartmell Terrace, Darlington, pleaded guilty to two charges of assault, dangerous driving and breach of a non-molestation order.

Andrew Finlay, in mitigation, said he accepts he shouldn't have behaved the way he did on that day but panicked.

Judge Recorder Michael Fanning sentenced Kell to a total of 31 months and banned him from driving for 21 months.

He said: "Had either officer fallen under the vehicle they could have been killed or very seriously hurt and that is a grossly aggravating feature."