Driver who ploughed into family on main Northampton road AND committed knife point robbery jailed

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A man who ploughed into a family as they walked along a pavement in Northampton and committed a knife point robbery around a year later, has been jailed.

Connor Panter, of no fixed address, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on May 3 for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to a host of offences.

On the evening of August 26, 2022, the 22-year-old met a stranger in Broad Street, Northampton, and following a brief conversation, convinced the man to drive him to a family wake in Harlestone.

After discovering the wake had finished, the man felt too tired to drive back to Northampton, so despite not having a driving licence, Panter persuaded the man to let him drive the red Ford KA.

Connor Panter (left, inset) has been jailed after causing a collision which left pedestrians seriously injured.Connor Panter (left, inset) has been jailed after causing a collision which left pedestrians seriously injured.
Connor Panter (left, inset) has been jailed after causing a collision which left pedestrians seriously injured.

In Harlestone Road, Panter lost control of the car and collided with a family walking along the pavement outside Bet Fred, causing injury to all four pedestrians as well as to himself and his passenger, and substantial damage to the front of the shop.

Oxana’s 39-year-old partner was also taken to University Hospital Coventry, and her two daughters, aged 20 and 10, were taken to Northampton General Hospital. Panter suffered a head injury and was also taken to hospital.

Panter was charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving on August 30 last year, after being arrested in November 2022. He was bailed to appear before Northampton Magistrates’ Court on September 21, but failed to attend the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. However, while wanted he committed an attempted theft and a knife-point robbery.

Connor Panter.Connor Panter.
Connor Panter.

At 5.15am on October 16, a woman in the process of defrosting her car in Dryden Avenue, Daventry, ran into her house to collect her lunch, according to Northamptonshire Police. However, she heard the engine revving and returned to find Panter in the driver’s seat.

She screamed at him to get out of the car, he shouted back before running away. However, a few minutes later in the same street, a man was de-icing his windscreen when Panter opened the driver’s door.

When challenged, he produced a large kitchen knife and threatened the man before getting into the silver SEAT Leon and driving off. Police were called and after a quick search, officers spotted the car at junction 16 of the M1 motorway.

Panter noticed the officers following him and accelerated at speeds of over 100mph, failing to stop before exiting the motorway at junction 15A, where he drove into a lorry park, and met a dead end.

Still trying to evade capture, Panter drove the car into the side of the police vehicle before he got out and tried to run from the officers. He was arrested and a subsequent search of the car uncovered a knife in the footwell.

Panter was subsequently charged with four further offences – robbery, possession of a knife blade/sharp article in a public place, driving a vehicle while unfit through drugs and attempted theft of a motor vehicle.

In February this year, he pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court to all offences.

Lead investigator, Detective Constable Lee Norton of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The manner of Connor Panter’s driving on both August 26, 2022, and October 16, 2023, fell below the legal requirements as he drove dangerously and recklessly putting lives of innocent people at risk.

“His selfish actions also changed the lives of the family he collided with on Harlestone Road forever as well as the two people he threatened in Daventry, and I hope that they can take some solace from the sentence.

“I hope Panter is also aware, that because of his reckless use of the road, he was fortunate that his actions did not leave a family grieving for their loved ones. However, he will probably never truly understand the physical and psychological impact his actions have had.”

Panter was sentenced to six years and three months in prison – three years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, to run consecutively with three years and three months for the robbery.

He was also sentenced to a further three years to run concurrently – 12 months for the possession of a bladed article, 12 months for the attempted theft of a motor vehicle and 12 months for dangerous driving.

Panter was also disqualified from driving for two years.


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