September 24, 2023

The driver of a US Army truck smashed through a police blockade in a “reign of terror” after a row with his partner, a court heard.

Geoff Marshall, 41, who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after driving a cargo truck through a police roadblock near a Royal Marines base in Somerset has pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage.

Marshall appeared in court on Tuesday after officers were called to an address in Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton, at around 4.40pm on Sunday following a report that a man was threatening a person living there and had caused damage to the property.

When officers arrived, Marshall was at the wheel of the 1958 M35 cargo truck.

Geoff Marshall, 41,

Police tried to stop Geoff Marshall, 41, before he left his Norton Fitzwarren home – APEX

Police said he rammed it into two police cars and damaged a further seven vehicles.

At Taunton magistrates’ court on Tuesday, Marshall pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating, 12 counts of criminal damage and one of dangerous driving.

He was remanded in custody and will appear for sentencing at Taunton Crown Court on Oct 13.

The incident followed an argument between Marshall and his partner, Kathryn Marshall Lam, at their Norton Fitzwarren home, over text messages that she found on his mobile phone, the court was told.

Ms Marshall Lam fled the property and called the police amid fears for her safety, prosecutor Paul Kelly said.

Upon arrival, officers found the defendant behind the wheel of the military truck.

“They tried to reason with the defendant through the window and asked him to get out of that large vehicle safely to talk to him about the allegation against him,” Mr Kelly said.

He added: “These negotiations failed and, instead of engaging with the police, this defendant decided to start driving the vehicle.

“He has driven the vehicle into the property owned by Kathryn Marshall Lam, causing damage to the vehicle parked in front, as well as quite a lot of structural damage to that property.

“He has then made off from that location and driven at police cars, causing extensive damage to four police vehicles who were trying to block him.

“He has then left the site and driven to the M5 motorway and got out of the vehicle and got on to a bridge that crosses the M5, crossed the barrier and has threatened suicide.

“Negotiations took place with the police, who managed to get him down and arrested him for the matters before the court.

“There was damage to a large amount of parked vehicles, which are reflected in the charges.”

‘This was a reign of terror’

Magistrates ordered pre-sentence reports into the event and imposed an interim driving ban on Marshall.

Presiding justice Trevor Morgan said: “We have heard everything that has been said and we are now arranging for you to appear at Taunton Crown Court on Oct 13 for sentencing for all of these matters you have pleaded guilty to.

“This was a reign of terror with what was damaged by the vehicle you were driving.”

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