It started like any other Monday morning at work.
But when petrol station manager Alex Cook spotted a customer trying to make off without paying for fuel it quickly turned into a moment that could have changed his life forever, or ended it.
Because, instead of owning up and forking out for the £54 of unleaded he’d taken, the driver instead got into his Ford Focus and put his foot down – almost running Alex over, before speeding off with him clinging to the windscreen wipers.
The horrifying moment, captured on the garage’s CCTV camera, goes on to show the car continue down the road with the hapless 36-year-old still holding on for dear life.
“I’d been in the back office when a staff member came to tell me there was someone acting weird on the forecourt,” said Alex, who’s been working at J Cook and Sons, his family’s business on Blaina Road in Brynmawr, for the last 15 years.
“So I went out and saw he’d been filling up two containers which were in the boot of his car, the engine of which was still running.
“I asked him if he was going to pay and he replied that he was just going to get his wallet from the glovebox.
“But at that point he just got in, slammed the door and drove straight at me.”
Alex added that he felt his knees bend backwards with impact of the car and knew he had a choice to make.
“I thought: ‘I’m either getting on the bonnet or going underneath the wheels’, because it was clear the guy wasn’t going to stop.”
And Alex managed to remain hanging on to the car’s wipers for some 400m as it headed over the roundabout of the A467 bypass and up towards Nantyglo.
“I remember looking at him through the windscreen and just seeing this blank face, he was showing no emotion whatsoever,” he added.
“I could hear other motorists beeping their horns to get him to stop. God knows what he must have been thinking.”
It was at that point the driver hit the brakes and swerved to the right, giving Alex the chance to roll off the vehicle and onto the pavement.
Miraculously, he only sustained minor injuries.
Ieuan Evans, of Heol Rhyd Y Bedd, Pant, Merthyr Tydfil, was later arrested and charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent following the incident on September 23, 2019.
But, after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of causing actual bodily harm, along with dangerous driving and making off without paying for fuel, Evans walked free from Cardiff Crown Court on Monday, March 8, with an 18-month suspended sentence.
The 27-year-old also has one previous conviction for taking a quad bike without consent, failing to stop for police and driving with no insurance.
“I think the sentence was pathetic,” said Alex.
“Even now, almost a year and a half later, I’m still nervous on the garage forecourt.
“If I hear an engine revving it puts me on edge.
You can now get all of the need-to-know news sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our free Gist Vile newsletter.
It takes just seconds to subscribe – simply click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
“And all this happened just one month after that police officer in Berkshire was dragged to his death behind the car of someone he tried to apprehend,” he added, referring to PC Andrew Harper who was killed in the line of duty in August 2019 after responding to a report of vehicle theft.
“Like him, that could have easily been the end of me, yet this guy Evans walks free from court.
“How is that justice?”