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Man Sentenced to Over Six Years for Knife-Point Robbery and Dangerous Driving

A man who committed a knife-point robbery just over a year after causing serious injuries in a road collision has been jailed for more than six years, underscoring the severe impact theft and dangerous actions can have on innocent people.

On the evening of 26 August 2022, Connor Panter, of no fixed address, met a stranger in Broad Street, Northampton. After a brief conversation, Panter convinced the man to drive him to a family wake in Harlestone. When they discovered the wake had ended, the man felt too tired to drive back to Northampton. Despite not having a driving licence, Panter persuaded the man to let him drive the red Ford KA.

En route, the 22-year-old was witnessed driving dangerously on Dallington Road, speeding excessively and jumping a red light at the junction of Harlestone Road and Spencer Bridge Road. On Harlestone Road, Panter lost control of the car, colliding with a family walking along the pavement outside Bet Fred. The collision caused significant injuries to all four pedestrians, as well as to Panter and his passenger, and substantial damage to the front of the shop.

A 40-year-old woman was crushed between the car and shop front, suffering serious injuries and was taken to University Hospital Coventry along with her 39-year-old partner and Panter, who sustained a serious head injury. Her two daughters, aged 20 and 10, were taken to Northampton General Hospital with serious injuries, along with the passenger of the car, who was later discharged.

Following an investigation by Northamptonshire Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, Panter was arrested in November 2022 and charged with causing serious injury by dangerous driving. He was bailed to appear before Northampton Magistrates’ Court on 21 September but failed to attend, leading to a warrant for his arrest. While wanted, he committed an attempted theft and a knife-point robbery.

At 5.15am on 16 October, a woman defrosting her car in Dryden Avenue, Daventry, briefly went inside her house. Upon hearing her car engine revving, she returned to find Panter in the driver’s seat. She screamed at him to get out, and he ran away. Minutes later, in the same street, Panter threatened a man de-icing his windscreen with a large kitchen knife before stealing his silver SEAT Leon. Police located the car at junction 16 of the M1 motorway. Panter accelerated to over 100mph, eventually exiting the motorway at junction 15A and driving into a lorry park, where he collided with a police vehicle in an attempt to escape. He was arrested, and a knife was found in the car.

Panter was charged with robbery, possession of a knife, driving while unfit through drugs, and attempted theft of a motor vehicle. He was remanded in custody on 17 October and pleaded guilty at Northampton Crown Court to all offences on 4 February. On 3 May, Panter was sentenced to six years and three months in prison: three years for causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and three years and three months for the robbery. He also received a concurrent three-year sentence for possession of a bladed article, attempted theft of a motor vehicle, and dangerous driving. Panter was disqualified from driving for two years.

Lead investigator, Detective Constable Lee Norton of the Serious Collision Investigation Unit, commented, “The manner of Connor Panter’s driving on both 26 August 2022 and 16 October 2023 fell below the legal requirements as he drove dangerously and recklessly, putting innocent lives at risk. His selfish actions have forever changed the lives of the family he collided with on Harlestone Road, as well as the two people he threatened in Daventry. I hope they can find some solace in this sentence. Panter's reckless use of the road was fortunate not to result in fatalities, but he will likely never fully understand the physical and psychological impact of his actions.”

In 2023, 29 people tragically lost their lives in road collisions in Northamptonshire, and 242 required urgent medical assistance for serious and life-changing injuries. This case highlights the fact that theft and reckless behaviour are not victimless crimes, causing real harm to individuals and communities.


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