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Ex-showjumper who tried to cover up crash branded a "bully" in court by his own mother...

A former international showjumper branded a “bully” in court by his own mother has been jailed after deliberately hitting a cyclist, leaving him for dead, and then trying to get a stable lad to help him cover up the incident.

Last September, 22-year-old Christopher Robertson of Chiddingfold, Surrey, deliberately hit 66-year-old former IT consultant Leslie Smith while driving down a country lane in his Citroën Xantia, reports The Times.

He then returned to the family stud farm, where he took steps to cover up the incident including washing down his car and replacing a number plate damaged in the collision, later telling police that he had done so after hitting a deer. He also told a stable lad to take down notices put up by police appealing for witnesses.

The victim, who almost died from his injuries, had to be taken to hospital by air ambulance and spent more than three months there, including nearly three weeks in intensive care. His injuries included lacerations of the liver, internal bleeding, broken ribs, a fractured hand, wounds to his throat and cuts in both legs.

Sentencing Robertson to 33 months in prison at Guildford Crown Court for dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice, Judge Peter Moss said: “Mr Smith suffered appalling injuries from which he nearly died. He will continue to suffer for the rest of his life.” On being sentenced, Roberston swore at the judge before vomiting in the dock and struggled as he was led to the cells.

Robertson’s guilt came to light when police made a connection between his car and the crash and visited his family’s stud farm to interview staff. One employee, Victoria Davis, told police that Robertson – who had a prior conviction for driving off after an accident – had claimed the collision arose because he had not seen Mr Smith until it was too late since the road had a blind spot.

However, stable lad Scott Coleman, aged 22, helped officers piece together what had really happened when he revealed that Robertson had told him he had hit the victim on purpose because he was taking up the road, claiming that he only meant to “clip” him to send him into a roadside ditch.

Robertson’s own mother appeared as a witness for the prosecution and told the court: “Scott Coleman was frightened of Christopher. Christopher likes to dominate people. He’s quite a bully.”

Robertson, who in the past has received psychiatric treatment after attacking his mother, was upset that she had appeared as a prosecution witness, but the judge told him was wrong to think that.

“You feel she has been disloyal,” said the judge, before pointing out that the fact she was in court at sentencing to support him proved he was wrong.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

15 comments

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mrchrispy [454 posts] 6 years ago
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I hope his stay in HMP is pure hell.
someone pass him the soap.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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Sounds like a charming chap. I think we need to starta Daily Mail campaign against showjumping louts.

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Mike McBeth [74 posts] 6 years ago
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33 months for attempted murder? What a disgrace! Why is it that using a motor vehicle as a weapon usually means that a criminal will be treated so leniently?

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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Interesting point Mike, if he'd used a knife the sentence would have been somewhat longer.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 6 years ago
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Mike McBeth wrote:

33 months for attempted murder? What a disgrace! Why is it that using a motor vehicle as a weapon usually means that a criminal will be treated so leniently?

That's a good point - the guy we reported on last week who ran cyclists off the road in California was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Which a car clearly is, if you aim it a someone.

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Patrick1964 [25 posts] 6 years ago
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Ridiculously lenient, he'll be out in 2012, and by the sound of it he'll kill someone next time.

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Blackhound [439 posts] 6 years ago
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Impossible to comprehend how some sentences are calculated. Probably be out in early 2011 won't he, they get 50% off I think....

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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Mind you, his insurance costs will be huge when he gets out. Hopefully he won't be able to afford to drive. In his case trying to drive without insurance would mean he'd be back in court pronto as the police would be keeping an eye oout for a repeat offence.

I do wonder if his victim will sue for damages. I'm not sure of the law in this regard. Surely the offender would be liable for any health costs incurred by the victim as a result of the incident? It does sound as of the victim has long term health problems which the offender should have to pay for. If the offender was forced to pay through the nose for damages it might make him think twice. In cases such as these, there are legal actions that can be taken even after the initial court case to ensure that full justice is carried out.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 6 years ago
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There's certainly nothing to stop the victim bringing a civil action, and the criminal conviction definitely strengthens his case. In practice, though, any damages would come from the motorists' insurers, not the driver himself, or the Motor Insurers Bureau if he's uninsured. But looking at some of the stuff that came out in court, I'm not convinced the motorist is the kind of person who would "think twice", sadly.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 6 years ago
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33 months is a paltry sentence. Regardless of whether he hit a cyclist or a pedestrian, the intent is no different. Had things panned out differently, he may have been facing murder charges, thankfully this isn't the case, but clearly he belongs out of society. The fact that he has attacked his mother and swore at the judge just reinforces this. Can anyone explain the vomiting though? Seems a bit odd.

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SimpleSimon [112 posts] 6 years ago
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Maybe the roads of Surrey are a wee bit safer! However, there are still plenty of idiots out there.

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Humbert15 [3 posts] 6 years ago
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mr-andrew wrote:

... Can anyone explain the vomiting though? Seems a bit odd.

I was wondering about that. He sounds a bit unhinged doesn't he? Can't believe he only got 33 months...

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i_want_one_of_those [12 posts] 6 years ago
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It is correct that he will be released from custody having served half of his sentence. He may even be released sooner than that on Home Detention Curfew (HDC).

He will spend the rest of the sentence on licence and would be liable to return to prison if he breaches any of the conditionsof the licence or re-offends.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 6 years ago
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If the victim sues successfully, the offender's insurance premiums will skyrocket, all the more reason for him not to get behind the wheel again.

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 6 years ago
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What a nasty piece of work, even his own mother testified against this scumbag. In a civilized society he would be charged with attempted murder, and given his record, life imprisonment. It seems that to use a car as a weapon is OK!  14