It’s always disappointing to hear of someone going off the rails, and when it also includes serious physical harm to another person it becomes even more disturbing. That’s what happened when the relationship between two young riders got into difficulty.
The result is that 24-year-old former jockey Dean Coleman is starting a two-year jail sentence after he admitted causing actual bodily harm, attempting to pervert the course of justice, threats to cause damage, intimidation, and two charges of dangerous driving.
He and his girlfriend Hannah Rogers, 22, had argued in May, and following their falling out, Coleman drove his BMW into the back of Ms Rogers car at a set of traffic lights. He persuaded her to get into his car, and after a further argument he dove into her as she ran off.
Prosecuting Coleman, Eugene Elias said, ‘He hit her in the back, knocking her down – then apologised and threatened he would take an overdose. He drove Hannah to hospital where she spent two weeks with a displacement to her spine. Coleman visited her and sent her texts asking her not to tell the police what had happened.’
Cardiff Crown Court heard that at the time, Coleman was on police bail for intimidation and suspected arson of Michael Byrne, another young jockey.
Coleman received a positive reference from trainer Evan Williams, who had no issues with the jockey during the two years he employed him. Williams said, “It’s a very sad story. Dean came to us as a young lad before the school leaving age. He’s had a tough upbringing, and no involvement with horses. He worked here for two years until he was 17 or 18 and during that time he was a reliable employee. I had no problems with him. It’s a great pity he went down the road he did. I hope he comes out a better person.”
Coleman rode 33 winners from his 287 rides between 2008 and 2010 handed in his licence after offering several different excuses for failing to take a ride on a horse at Hereford. He read a letter to the court, which he had written while on remand.
He said: “I would never intentionally hurt Hannah. I have had time to look back at every mistake I have made in life and make plans for my future. I got myself in with the wrong crowd and was surrounded by alcohol and drugs like cocaine and Valium and I will never go down that road again. I will prove to my friends and family that I have a bright future ahead of me and I will not let them down.”
Those are fine sentiments, and it is to be hoped that people in racing are able to support him when he comes out of prison, regardless of whether he wants to work in the industry or not.