A PROPERTY developer who ploughed through a Awbridge family’s garden in a sports car has been fined by a court.

James O’Brien crashed his black Audi Quattro R8 through a shed, hedge and fence, leaving children’s toys strewn in its wake, at 1am on September 4.

Southampton Magistrates Court heard that 37-year-old O’Brien, of Newtown Road, had driven at high speed through the village because he thought he had left his wallet in a pub where he had been earlier that evening.

On his way back, he was driving at a high speed again – though it is not certain how fast.

The car left the highway and went across the back lawn of Andrew and Paula Rigby’s house on the corner of Carters Clay Road and Newtown Road.

Neighbours came out of their houses to see what had happened.

At the time of the incident, Mr and Mrs Rigby said they were asleep with their children, Wilson, three, and Fay, one.

Mrs Rigby, 34, dashed outside to find the car, which had come to rest near their driveway, but it was empty.

She said: “I heard a bang, it was not particularly loud. I thought it was the kids, then I heard voices, looked out and there was a car in the garden.

“I was shocked. It took a while to sink in what had happened. I was very upset because it was all the kids’ things.

“They could have been killed if it was in the day, if they were in the garden – their toys are all trashed.”

The hedge had been moved about 15 metres by the car, which left tyre marks across the grass and scattered her toys, including trikes and plastic skittles.

Mitigating for O’Brien, who admitted driving without due care and attention, Jane Hemmings said he left the scen,e but later returned and spoke to police.

He was ordered to pay a £465 fine, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15. He was also given six points on his licence.