‘Devastating’ effect on Gwent’s artist deliberately hit by car

LIFE IN TATTERS: Artist Goff Danter from Brynmawr in his studio. The picture was taken before his horrific accident

DRIVER: Scott Wakeford

STAR ATTRACTION: Goff Danter in his studio in Usk with performer David Essex who visited the gallery to choose a painting last year

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE career of one of Gwent’s best-known artists is in jeopardy after he was hit by a car, carried 15 metres on the bonnet, thrown off and then run over, a court heard.

Goff Danter was left with head injuries and cuts and bruises all over his body following the incident in Brynmawr on May 11.

Since then he has struggled to paint the scenes of Valleys life and industry for which he is famous, with son Chris, 36, saying: “He is trying to get back into it, but it was a horrific incident in which he suffered substantial head injuries. He’s soldiering on, but is finding it hard to concentrate.”

Mr Danter, 63, was the innocent victim in an incident that led to 24-year-old Scott Wakeford being jailed for 30 weeks at Newport Crown Court after admitting an assault on Mr Danter, dangerous driving and a common assault.

Prosecutor Anthony Trigg said Wakeford began driving at 50mph and doing handbrake turns around Brynawel in his Citroen Saxo.

It was 6.15pm at night and, with a child’s play area nearby, Martin Phillips took exception and got in his own car, chasing Wakeford and confronting him.

After Wakeford got out of his car, he became “frightened and alarmed”, driving off.

In his rush to escape, Mr Phillips’ car clipped the wing mirror of Mr Danter’s Volkswagen camper van.

Mr Danter then stepped in to the road and saw Wakeford speeding towards him in pursuit of Mr Phillips. Wakeford revved his engine and the next thing Mr Danter remembers is waking up on a bench on King Street with people around him.

Mr Trigg said: “He drove into Mr Danter, scooping him up on to the bonnet face down.

“He then accelerated 15 metres, before Mr Danter rolled off on to the road and the car drove over his left arm and leg.”

In a victim impact statement, read out in court, Mr Danter said the incident had a “devastating effect” on his career and he hasn’t been able to work for months.

Defence barrister Harry Baker said Wakeford, of Southend, Tredegar, has apologised and realises it was “more than a loss of temper but a deliberate assault”.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said that he had used his car as a weapon, adding: ‘“You were showing off and after someone sought to remonstrate with you, you lost all reason and acted dangerously.”

He sentenced Wakeford to concurrent terms of 30 weeks for assaulting Mr Danter, 16 weeks for driving dangerously and six weeks for a common assault on Mr Phillips.

He banned him from driving for two years. PANEL ‘Father can’t get back to painting’ MR DANTER’S children Chris, 36, and Laura, 31, were at court for sentencing and said their dad couldn’t face going to court and “reliving it”.

Chris Danter said: ‘It’s a fairly significant sentence, but it shouldn’t have happened. He had cuts and bruises from head to toe.

“It’s also affected his painting.

He’s trying and trying to get back into it, but he doesn’t go out as much and is nervous around cars.”

Works usually sold before completion

MR DANTER’S works are some of the most sought-after in the contemporary art market in Wales.

New works depicting Valleys life are usually sold before completion. Collectors often buy them as investments and they are sold for up to ten times the price they were bought for.

Mr Danter paints from his studio on Beaufort Street, Brynmawr, and specialises in nostalgic Welsh art – painting collieries, farms, industry and scenes of Welsh life.

He grew up at the Whistle Inn, Blaenavon, a pub his parents ran before attending Brynmawr grammar school and studying art at West of England College of Art, Bristol; Cardiff College of Art and Cardiff University.

Mr Danter, who is married to Christine, taught at St Illtyd’s College, Cardiff, and managed education for local authorities in south east Wales, before becoming a full-time painter.

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