A DRIVER “tormented” another motorist with his aggressive high-speed tailgating and then crashed and put himself and two other people in hospital, York Crown Court heard.

Ashley Douthwaite’s Honda Civic somersaulted three or four times before stopping in a field 20 metres from the road and 95 metres from where he was trying to overtake a BMW, said Mark Styles, prosecuting. The car was written off.

Douthwaite had been “playing cat and mouse” with the BMW by tailgating it at 70mph on the narrow Barton to Slingsby country road, falling back then accelerating up so close that his passengers couldn’t see the other car’s back wheels.

One passenger, who may not have been wearing a seat belt, was catapulted from the car in the crash and was found 50 to 60 feet away, by a holidaymaker taking an evening stroll. He was airlifted by Yorkshire Air Ambulance to Hull Royal Infirmary with multiple injuries, including broken bones.

The other, who had texted a friend saying Douthwaite was “racing” another motorist, suffered a broken wrist and other injuries.

The woman BMW driver was on her way to visit her mother on the evening of Sunday, May 3 2013 and told police she felt the Honda was “pushing” her along the road.

Judge David Hatton QC said she was blameless. She escaped injury but was left so traumatised by the experience, she still feels the effect.

“The manner of your driving was unnecessary and dangerous,” the judge told Douthwaite. “It frightened and intimidated the driver ahead. You were clearly tormenting and toying with her.”

Douthwaite, 27, of Langley Drive, Norton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition that he does 220 hours’ unpaid work. He was also disqualified from driving for a year and ordered to take an extended driving test before being allowed to drive alone again.

For Douthwaite, Taryn Turner said his guilty plea had cost him the motor mechanic job he had had for nine years.

“He is remorseful and that is heartfelt and genuine,” she said. Douthwaite needed care in the Hull hospital’s critical care unit and was still receiving medical treatment for his injuries.

Both cars had been heading north up the 60mph “The Stray” road from the A64, said Mr Styles. The crash happened near the Coneysthorpe junction. The three men were to meet friends at the lake on the Castle Howard estate after visiting McDonald’s Clifton Moor branch.