A RESTAURANT manager was carried on the bonnet of a customer’s car after confronting him for failing to pay his bill, a court heard.

Danny Alexander, the assistant manager at the Harvester in Alder Road, Poole, escaped with minor injuries after challenging banned driver Barry Lumber on March 14 this year.

Jurors heard how Lumber, 59, formerly from Upper Road, Poole, had failed to stop. Mr Alexander told Bournemouth Crown Court how the Fiat Punto had reached speeds of up to 30 mph before Lumber braked and he fell off.

Eyewitness Marcus Taylor said he had heard screams, adding: “I looked up and saw a man in front of the car with both hands up and shouting stop. I saw the car move forward as if to try and force the man to move.

“The car touched the man and he fell onto the bonnet. He continued to shout ‘stop’ but the car accelerated away. I saw the man picking himself up from the ground.”

Lumber turned up for the first day of his trial but failed to show on the second when a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He admitted driving while disqualified but denied dangerous driving and making off without payment. After less than an hour’s deliberations jurors found him guilty of both charges.

During interview Lumber said: “I really did forget to pay; it just went out of my mind. I had the money and go in there quite a bit. It was just a mistake.

“We went to drive out and this bloke stood in front of me. I didn’t drive at him. Suddenly he was on the bonnet. I put my foot on the brakes, next thing I know he’s off. He either jumped off or fell off. I panicked and shot off.”

Judge Christopher Leigh QC told jurors that he had decided to proceed in Lumber’s absence as he had absconded in the past; on one occasion for eight and a half years.

Adjourning sentencing until December 11, he said he hoped Lumber would be arrested in the meantime.