A Norfolk man who harboured a grudge against cyclists has been jailed for 10 months for causing grievous bodily harm after shoulder-barging a rider taking part in an Audax event, the victim suffering a fractured hip. The judge in the case said that the sentence was “a clear message” that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
Cyclist Chris Brown, aged 61 and from Aylsham, spent two days in hospital after his hip was fractured when 52-year-old Duncan Smith attacked him on 7 December last year, reports the Eastern Daily Press.
During his sentencing hearing at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, it was revealed that Smith, who had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge, nursed a grudge against cyclists after spending £460 to repair his car’s wing mirror which had been damaged by a bike rider.
On the day he attacked Mr Brown, Smith said his wing mirror had once again been struck by a cyclist, which was playing on his mind as he returned to his home in Lamas and discovered riders in the Audax event passing by.
The court heard that he walked into the road and tried to stop riders to ask which club they were members of. It was told that although he didn’t intend to push Mr Brown from his bike on purpose, he was reckless as to the results of his actions.
The victim needed an operation on his hip, had to take time off work and spent three months getting around with the aid of crutches. He cannot now cycle as much as he used to, has problems sleeping, and it is thought that the fracture to his hip may never fully repair.
Sentencing Smith, Judge Stephen Holt told him: “A clear message must go out that behaviour of this type on a public highway that results in serious injury to an innocent person must lead to immediate custody.”
Representing Smith, Michael Clare said his client had written to Mr Brown to apologise, adding, “He is genuinely remorseful. He told me he was not an unreasonable person but had obviously got it wrong this time.”
Following the hearing, Mr Brown said he remained mystified at the “randomness of the attack.”
He added: “He had been dancing in the middle of the road, acting really strangely, with cyclists going either side of him. As I went to go by him he just shoulder-charged me.”
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.