A chef who drove off in a stolen Nissan sports car with the vehicle’s owner clinging onto the bonnet has been jailed for four years.

Kenny Pinkstone, 35, of Broadway, Didcot, was said to have ‘panicked’ when the Nissan Skyline R33’s owner and his mother ran from the house and hung on to the bonnet.

The owner’s mother fell from the vehicle and struck her face on the pavement, breaking her eye socket and leaving her unable to close her eyelid until surgeons were able to operate months later.

The Nissan’s owner clung on for longer, despite Pinkstone’s attempts to shake him off by driving erratically down Loyd Road, Didcot, until he too fell from the car.

After appealing for witnesses on Facebook, a man calling himself Shane Hare came forward and claimed to know where the vehicle was.

The damaged vehicle was recovered a day after the theft on November 7, 2020, and police found Pinkstone’s DNA on the driver controls.

Pinkstone’s brother had previously owned the car and in 2019, after finding a spare set of keys to the vehicle, passed them to his sibling to pass on to the man who had subsequently bought the Nissan – and from whom the victim purchased the car in early 2020.

The car’s injured owner picked Pinkstone out during a picture line-up procedure conducted by police. However, defence barrister Jonathan Coode told jurors at Oxford Crown Court that the procedure was ‘worthless’ as the victim had turned detective and found his client’s Facebook profile picture.

The jury was shown photographs of other men linked to the theft. “Which of those three took that car? It is very probably one of them. I suggest you can’t be sure about any of them,” Mr Coode said.

Pinkstone, who in common with the description of the car thief wore a fur-lined hood during the trial, was unanimously convicted on Wednesday of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

In a victim personal statement read to the court on Thursday morning by prosecutor Matthew Knight, the Nissan owner’s mother charted the life-changing effects of the incident.

Her eye injury meant she could no longer do the lab assistant role she had loved, as there was a risk of chemicals irritating her eye. She no longer felt as safe and had new doors and CCTV cameras fitted at home, she added.

Tragically, her mother died two days after the incident. “I couldn’t be with my mum when she passed away as I was in a lot of pain and unable to drive,” she said.

Mitigating, defence barrister Mr Coode said his client now accepted being the man who took the Nissan Skyline. “He hasn’t asked me to say to your honour ‘I have been wrongly convicted’. He has taken the verdict on the chin.”

Pinkstone was a ‘devoted father’ of two and a ‘hardworking chef’, his barrister said. He had been promoted from chef de partie to junior sous chef within just four months of arriving at the restaurant where he was currently working.

Jailing him for four years, Judge Maria Lamb noted the defendant had a ‘long-standing interest in other people’s cars’ given albeit old previous convictions for vehicle crimes.

He was banned from driving for a total of four years and must pass an extended retest before he can drive again.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

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