AN ex-Royal Marine and former star of the TV show Gladiators has admitted crashing a van full of dead badgers into a bus shelter in Gloucester city centre.
David McIntosh, 28, told police he was distracted when he dropped a radio which he was using to keep tabs on protesters with officers policing the trial cull, a court heard.
But his passenger John Parker told investigating officers he believed the cause of the crash was McIntosh - a former boyfriend of model Kelly Brook - falling asleep, Stroud Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.
Anti-cull protesters are calling for clarity after hearing in court that the cull operator was in contact with officers over where protesters were.
Police later issued a statement, which said: “We are aware that David McIntosh pleaded guilty today to driving without due care and attention and driving other than in accordance with a licence, following a road traffic collision in September last year. We are also aware of his reasons for that crash.
“We would like to make it perfectly clear that at no point during the pilot badger cull did police communicate the location of protesters to any contractors.
“Throughout Operation Themis, the policing response to the pilot badger cull, we have maintained our operational independence and ensured the safety of the public. “We are now investigating the comments made by Mr McIntosh and determining if any further action is appropriate.”
Graham Dono, prosecuting, said Mr Parker told officers they were heading from Tewkesbury to Maisemore and he was checking Facebook on his phone when he felt the VW Transporter change direction.
“I shouted ‘watch out’ and as I looked at him, both his hands were on the wheel but his head was on his chest,” said Mr Parker in a statement read by Mr Dono.
“I cannot in all honesty say whether he was awake or asleep but I believe his eyes were shut. His reaction to my shouting made me think he was startled. I believe the driver panicked.”
He believed McIntosh, who appeared as ‘Tornado’ in Gladiators, hit the accelerator instead of the brake. Mr Parker collapsed on the pavement in Worcester Street.
He said McIntosh tried to convince him he was trying to pick up a receipt printer, on a subsequent hospital visit.
And afterwards, Mr Parker, who suffered facial, rib and leg injuries, said McIntosh showed no remorse and “only wanted to get out of trouble”.
McIntosh said in a letter to the court the crash was caused by a dropped radio, while he was on his way to a furnace.
“The radio was in the vehicle on the dashboard so we could hear from police where protesters were,” he wrote.
“It slid off the dashboard to the pedals. My only option was to retrieve the radio as it was blocking the clutch and brake pedals.”
He told the court he did not know his licence was suspended for not responding to the DVLA about a red traffic light offence in 2005 because he was in Afghanistan.
McIntosh, of Kentmere Road, Timperley, Altrincham, admitted driving without due care and attention and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence. He was fined £91 with a £20 victim surcharge, told to pay £30 costs and his licence was endorsed with six penalty points.
The crash happened at 12.50am on Sunday, September 29, during the trial cull in Gloucestershire to determine whether killing badgers will drive down bovine tuberculosis. It’s a hugely controversial issue and seven protesters attended court.
“We believed there would be no co-operation between the police and the shooters on the cull,” said Jeanne Berry, of the Wounded Badger Patrol, after the hearing. From what we have heard in court, that does not appear so.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary denied that was the case.