A Hampshire man has been given a suspended prison sentence after driving after a teenage cyclist and ramming him with his girlfriend’s car in a road rage incident in Surrey in March last year.
Sammie Wyatt, aged 24, claimed that the 17-year-old victim of the attack had scraped his girlfriend’s car after deliberately riding at it and that he had driven after him to obtain his name and address.
A jury at Guildford Crown Court last week rejected his defence, however, finding him guilty of dangerous driving, assault causing actual bodily harm and common assault, reports the website Get Surrey.
The incident took place on 19 March 2011 at The Grove, Frimley, as a group of BMX riders were heading home from a skate park in Farnborough.
Prosecuting counsel Rhiannon Sadler told the court that one of the youths accidentally scraped the Honda Civic car, which at that point was being driven by Wyatt’s girlfriend, Jodie Morris, as they squeezed between it and some parked cars.
Wyatt then took over the wheel and set off after the teenagers, grabbing one and asking the name of the cyclist involved, then drove along the street where he struck the 17-year-old with his vehicle.
“The boy came off his bicycle and ended up under the car. He was wedged underneath the vehicle,” explained Ms Sadler, adding that Wyatt kicked the teenager as he lay on the ground.
She added that the victim managed to get free and “only suffered minor injuries,” while Wyatt drove off at speed, performing dangerous overtaking manoeuvres as he did so.
Wyatt, a car sales manager, had told police in an interview read out to the jury that one of the cyclists had laughed as he rode on purpose at the car, which resulted in his girlfriend bursting into tears.
“He planned the damage to the car. He intended to do it,” he insisted. “He was laughing to his friends.”
After his conviction, Wyatt was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months, and has also been ordered to perform 140 hours of unpaid work as well as paying £600 compensation to the victim.
The offence of dangerous driving of which Wyatt was convicted carries with it an automatic ban of a minimum of one year with the motorist obliged to take an extended retest. The length of ban applied in this case was not reported.
The incident echoes one we reported on in May 2010 in which a Coventry motorised was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder following a road rage incident in which he drove his car at a cyclist who had clipped his wing mirror. The victim later died at the scene from multiple injuries sustained in the attack.
Given the similarities between the two cases, in particular the way in which each started, some may view Wyatt as lucky to have escaped a charge of attempted murder.
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.