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Daniel Watkiss tried to force cyclist to hand over £50 'for damage' to BMW before hitting him in the face...

A driver has been jailed for 18 months for a vicious attack on a cyclist who clipped the wing mirror of his BMW.

Daniel Watkiss, 30, was driving in Stoke Newington in East London last July when he attempted to overtake James Falle, who was cycling.

Mr Falle signalled for him to pass and accidentally touched his wing mirror, causing Watkiss to stop suddenly in front of the cyclist.

He demanded £50 for payment for the damage, later found by the judge not to exist, and when the Mr Falle refused, Watkiss began strangling him by his helmet straps and going through his pockets looking for money.

“The next thing I knew he had grabbed my helmet and pulled me across my bike and into the road,” the Daily Mail reported Mr Falle as saying in court.

“The strap on my helmet was strangling me; I couldn't breathe at this stage. I was trying to undo the helmet with one hand, but that was impossible while I was still being dragged forward.” 

Watkiss then hit him on the face and neck before driving off leaving Mr Falle in the road with bloody knees, cuts and bruises. 

Watkiss pleaded not guilty but was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being found guilty of dangerous driving and assault by beating.  

His father, an eminent jazz musician who has performed with Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder and Keith Richards among others, broke down in tears as his sentence was read out.  

Defence agent Liam Loughlin said: “The reason he pleaded not guilty is that he was simply terrified of going to prison.”

He added: “He’s remorseful and he puts it down to a moment of madness.”

Passing a sentence of 18 months in prison and a two year driving ban Judge Patricia Lees said: “Mr Falle is an experienced cyclist and he is used to cycling in London, he was plainly not trying to aggravate the driver behind him.

“You demanded restitution for the wing mirror, it was a nonsense, it was not damaged, and even if it had been there is no way a wing mirror costs £50.

“The only explanation you could give was that you were planning on doing the work yourself and would need to buy parts.”

“It seems to me this offences are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence is justified.”

However the judge recognised Watkiss’s plea for leniency on the grounds that he had a 10 year old son with special needs.

She added: “But because of your family matters I have reduced your sentence to shorter than you deserve.”

Just last month we reported how a Norfolk man who harboured a grudge against cyclists was 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, 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.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

22 comments

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Ramuz [140 posts] 1 year ago
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“The reason he pleaded not guilty is that he was simply terrified of going to prison.”

And how do you think your victim felt?

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Woodno1 [1 post] 1 year ago
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"Watkiss pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Snaresbrook Crown Court after being found guilty of dangerous driving and assault by beating."
"Defence agent Liam Loughlin said: “The reason he pleaded not guilty is that he was simply terrified of going to prison.”

Did he plead guilty or not guilty?

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mudshark [41 posts] 1 year ago
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Judge should have told him he's a poor role model to his 10 year old son and should be ashamed.

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dodgy [170 posts] 1 year ago
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“You demanded restitution for the wing mirror, it was a nonsense, it was not damaged, and even if it had been there is no way a wing mirror costs £50."

I beg to differ.

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Arthur Scrimshaw [64 posts] 1 year ago
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dodgy wrote:

“You demanded restitution for the wing mirror, it was a nonsense, it was not damaged, and even if it had been there is no way a wing mirror costs £50."

I beg to differ.

I read this as she thought it would be far more expensive hence the comment about him buying parts and doing the work himself?

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dodgy [170 posts] 1 year ago
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Arthur Scrimshaw wrote:
dodgy wrote:

“You demanded restitution for the wing mirror, it was a nonsense, it was not damaged, and even if it had been there is no way a wing mirror costs £50."

I beg to differ.

I read this as she thought it would be far more expensive hence the comment about him buying parts and doing the work himself?

Ah yes, you could be right, it makes sense that way when you reread it.

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severs1966 [293 posts] 1 year ago
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“The reason he pleaded not guilty [...].”

“He’s remorseful [...].”

He is a liar to boot. Those who are remorseful do not plead Not Guilty. His remorse is an act.

Of course, if (instead of strangling and beating) he had simply run the bike rider over, he would have received half the sentence. Once outside his car, he didn't get his "automatic driver's privilege" that courts and judges seem to have as their default setting.

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3wheelsgood [63 posts] 1 year ago
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Just the customary detachment from real life so frequently displayed by the Judiciary - Judge probably thinks a Mars Bar costs thruppence ( that's one and a half new pence to you sir!)

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Paul_C [393 posts] 1 year ago
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if he was close enough for his wing mirror to be touched, then he was too close in the first place...

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Pauldmorgan [217 posts] 1 year ago
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On the contrary - he meant that a wing mirror costs a lot more than that and the defendant's demand for £50 was arbitrary, especially given that there was no damage.

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Pauldmorgan [217 posts] 1 year ago
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On the contrary - he meant that a wing mirror costs a lot more than that and the defendant's demand for £50 was arbitrary, especially given that there was no damage.

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viveLaPants [94 posts] 1 year ago
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Ooh the son with special needs, thats a new one. must keep count of the number of excuses, i'm up to 18 so far  41

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perfect1964 [23 posts] 1 year ago
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The reason for almost all instances of drivers wing mirrors getting clipped is because they drove too close to the cyclist. Only a couple of weeks ago I got "clipped" in Thornton Heath. Luckily I didn't come off. The driver, a decent human being, slowed down, and then decided to drive off.

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Leeroy_Silk [114 posts] 1 year ago
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If he wasn't wearing a helmet he may not have been strangled. There's one one for the anti-helmet brigade to latch onto.

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cybernaut [16 posts] 1 year ago
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That was my thought too. Perhaps this escaped the CPS's attention in view of the more serious offences, or more likely this was ignored due to "driver's privilege" as others have pointed out.

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Quince [382 posts] 1 year ago
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Precisely. Trying to claim repair costs from someone for damaging your wing mirror in the case of an overtake is like trying claim against a victim for bloodying your sword.

When overtaking, you should be nowhere near close enough for the wing mirror to even brush against another person.

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balmybaldwin [125 posts] 1 year ago
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So 18 months for the dangerous driving.... what about the assault?

Reducing the sentance because someone has a kid with special needs is rediculous. Do you think as he was being dragged accross the road the cyclist was thinking this is alright because the bloke hitting me has a son with problems? Courts really do need to concentrate on the victims rights, not the rights of the perpetrator and his/her family

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Simon E [2539 posts] 1 year ago
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Quince wrote:

When overtaking, you should be nowhere near close enough for the wing mirror to even brush against another person.

I would suggest that, if doing more than about 15 mph, you should be far enough away that the other person cannot touch it with an outstretched arm.

http://www.highwaycode.info/rule/163

The bloke needs a dose of his own medicine. for some people it's the only thing that works.

And the "moment of madness" claim is a barefaced lie.

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124g [34 posts] 1 year ago
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A moment of madness, yeah right, the defence barrister should be locked up with him, lying pair of twats..he pleaded not guilty which normally results in a longer sentence, shame this tool didn't get one.

The old I've got a child with special needs scam, so can't go to prison, he's an arrogant prick, and deserved the full sentence, as well as the removal of his drivers licence for five years. The sad thing is he'll serve only twelve months.

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FarehamOxonian [3 posts] 1 year ago
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So, the sentence was to cover dangerous driving and assault by beating.

What about the demanding money with menaces part of the whole affair?  7

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skippy [408 posts] 1 year ago
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My recent encounter with a " Vigilante driver " resulted in this comment to : https://www.facebook.com/LookSaveALifeArizona

There you will find the story of the " Texting Deputy " , back at work so he can kill another Cyclist ?

" Not only do drivers interfere with " Racing Cyclists " , they behave like " Vigilantes " with normal Cyclists !

Sunday in Brixlegg , Tirol , Austria , i was passed closely by a white van whilst i was riding at 30+kph , which then braked suddenly for no apparent purpose . I was forced to swing left, thus passing it , into a clear road ahead . About 300m later i was tootling along at about 40+kph when i became aware as i passed several traffic islands and road junctions , that there was a vehicle following closely at my rear .

When the road opened up , the vehicle pulled along side and there was verbal abuse . He then edged over hitting me with the right wing mirror then accelerated as he swung towards the pavement thus causing me to brake hard . The space left caused me to collide with the paving stone , tossing me onto the footway , which he had mounted .

After picking myself up i photoed his number plate and knocked on the passenger window for them to open up so as to get their " details " ! This they did not do but drove off, the witness after exchanging details ( wanted to call Cops & Ambo for my wounds ) let me ride to the Polizei Post .

There i found the white van getting their story in first . They claimed i had broken their right wing mirror . When you see the photo , you will see it heavily scraped . A body would brush it back , concrete / walling would gouge the material .

Yes there was blood on the window where i knocked and there was damage to their right wheel from the paving .

What will the Polizei do ? Judging by the attitude of the Senior that treated me as an imbecile for not being fluent in German/Deutch , he would prefer to think that knocking Cyclists off their Bikes , is an every day occurence to be ignored !

Farcical that he even thinks that clothing can gouge plastic , but then you meet all sorts and who they are related to , their neighbours or family friends , is not apparent ?

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CStar [26 posts] 1 year ago
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perfect1964 wrote:

The reason for almost all instances of drivers wing mirrors getting clipped is because they drove too close to the cyclist. Only a couple of weeks ago I got "clipped" in Thornton Heath. Luckily I didn't come off. The driver, a decent human being, slowed down, and then decided to drive off.

At least yours slowed. Mine came barrelling up a narrow road at 6.00am (drunk?) scattering cyclists in front of her before clipping me. 1 inch to the left and I'd have been off.