Ex-mayor told nurse 'I pay your wages' and drove car into her in row over Covid testing queue, court hears

3 November 2022, 18:13 | Updated: 3 November 2022, 20:10

Maidstone Crown Court has heard details about an alleged assault by former councillor Vaughan Hewett at Medway Maritime Hospital
Maidstone Crown Court has heard details about an alleged assault by former councillor Vaughan Hewett at Medway Maritime Hospital. Picture: Google Maps/Medway Council/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

A former mayor hit an NHS nurse with his car in a queue-jumping row at the Covid testing centre where she was working, a court has been told.

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Susan Dyett was working at a drive-through Covid testing site at Medway Maritime Hospital on April 16, 2021.

Vaughan Hewett, 66, brought his wife Jennifer - who had terminal cancer - to the centre, but is alleged to have become angry after thinking another car pushed in front of his Skoda Yeti.

Hearing the commotion, Ms Dyett came out of her office and assured Ms Hewett no one would be seen before his wife, the court heard.

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Ms Dyett told jurors: "He was still going on about how people had jumped the queue and then he told me he pays my wages."

She went on: "I was kind of taken aback and embarrassed he had come out with that because there were so many other people around.

"You don't expect people to be shouting they pay your wages because they haven't been able to get into a bay before someone else."

The alleged incident happened at a Covid testing facility at Medway Maritime Hospital
The alleged incident happened at a Covid testing facility at Medway Maritime Hospital. Picture: Google Maps

After that Ms Dyett said Mr Hewett's wife was asked to step out of the car so her test could be performed.

But the court heard Mr Hewett refused to calm down, at which point Ms Dyett alerted security.

Ms Dyett told jurors she decided to note down Mr Hewett's registration number because she thought his wife would be a "regular customer" - but claimed he drove his car into her as she was crouched down in front of it to read the number.

"I am crouching down to read the plate, not a full bend, and as I have looked up, he has looked at me and just driven and hit me with the car," she told the court.

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"He clearly could see me, I could clearly see him.

"He hit me on my right hand side, on my hip or leg area.

"It made me jump because I didn't realise he would actually do that.

"I didn't realise anyone could treat someone in that way."

Ms Dyett said he then drove away without checking she was okay.

She claimed he hit her twice - the first of which was harder, and the second occurred "because I didn't move out of the way quick enough".

Ms Dyett said she suffered soft tissue damage as a result.

The trial is taking place at Maidstone Crown Court
The trial is taking place at Maidstone Crown Court. Picture: Alamy

Mr Hewett, a former councillor and mayor, is on trial at Maidstone Crown Court accused of assault and dangerous driving.

He claimed he showed no aggression and was only "seeking clarification" on the queuing system.

He also said he only raised his voice to be heard through his mask, and because the window had only been lowered a few inches.

He claimed Ms Dyett had "recklessly rushed" in front of him, and a security guard at the scene claimed the car had "rolled" forward into her.

The defendant denied making contact in his car with Ms Dyett.

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He also said she had made a "pantomime" out of the incident, saying she "appeared out of a crowd" before running in front of his car.

"She started dancing around saying 'oh, you've hit me'," he told the court.

"She made a pantomime of it."

Mr Hewett also denied making the remark about paying the NHS nurse's wages.

He said he asked whether she was NHS staff or a volunteer, and, upon finding out she was staff, said he could report her for not managing the queue properly.

The trial continues.

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