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He is jailed though for theft of cleaning products from supermarket

A thief in Bristol who crashed into a female cyclist while attempting a getaway on a bike has pleaded guilty to the rarely-used charge of dangerous cycling. However, the defendant, who has a drugs problem, received no punishment for the offence, nor was he ordered to pay compensation to the victim despite her injuries.

Instead, Norman Watson, aged 30 and from St Pauls, Bristol, was jailed for four weeks after admitting three charges of theft of washing products worth a total of £145 from a Co-operative supermarket, reports The Bristol Post.

Dangerous cycling is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991, punishable by a fine of up to £2,500.

In a statement read out to Bristol Magistrates’ Court, student Sarah Slater described her recollection of the events hat led to her being knocked out and suffering facial injuries including a swollen cheek, a cut on the bridge of her nose and abrasions to her chin.

Miss Slater was riding along Sevier Street, St Pauls at 3.20pm on 18 March this year when she noticed a cyclist heading towards her, being pursued by a police car with flashing lights, according to her statement which was read out by prosecuting counsel Nick Evans.

"He was cycling towards me on my side of the road,” explained Miss Slater. “By this time I had positioned myself in the centre of the road with the intention to turn right at the mini roundabout.

"To my left there was another cyclist. He [Watson] tried to cycle between that cyclist and me – there was about 2ft between us. He seemed to be cycling in a desperate way – very fast.

"He cycled straight into me at speed. The next thing I know is that I have gone over my handlebars and hit the road surface. After that the next thing I remember is coming round in hospital."

Judy Hampton, speaking in defence of Watson, said that her client had stolen the goods as a result of his long-term drug problem.

"In respect of the dangerous-cycling charge, he very much regrets the incident and feels extremely bad about it,” she added.

“He told police in interview that it was a genuine accident and asked officers to apologise to her on his behalf.

"The matter can only be dealt with by way of a fine and he is not in a position to pay."

Sentencing Watson, the magistrates said: "We are sending you to prison for a period of four weeks for each theft – to run concurrently. There is no separate penalty for the dangerous cycling and we do not order any compensation be paid."

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.

19 comments

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Simmo72 [609 posts] 3 years ago
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No chance of getting compensation as he's a drug addict with no cash. If he had to pay out he would need to steal more. Putting it bluntly it would have been better for society if during the crash he had removed himself from the gene pool when he crashed. British law failing to deliver/society failing to deal with drug riddled smack heads.

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tomo9000 [2 posts] 3 years ago
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This story is a bit Daily Mail.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Since when was it a defence to be a druggie?
And a 'genuine' accident? When being chased by the Police??
What is wrong with bringing back trial by fire for scum like them?

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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Didn’t the Chinese have a way of dealing with junkie scum???  39

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rich22222 [165 posts] 3 years ago
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Sending him to jail for 2 weeks is certainly not going to help him beat his drug addiction.
I bet Lance Armstrong was always doing this  1

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Critchio [181 posts] 3 years ago
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She might be entitled to something under CICA.

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paulfg42 [392 posts] 3 years ago
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cidermart wrote:

Didn’t the Chinese have a way of dealing with junkie scum???  39

Was it not scum on ther junk?  39

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cidermart [489 posts] 3 years ago
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paulfg42 wrote:

Was it not scum on ther junk?  39

Yes and only cost a couple of pence to sort rather than the thousands of pounds to house them for a couple of weeks.

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A V Lowe [582 posts] 3 years ago
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No way a 'genuine acccident' This crash happened through the intentional riding of a bicycle directly at oncoming cyclists - that is no accident.

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Argos74 [407 posts] 3 years ago
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How in God's name do you steal and carry away £145 worth of cleaning products? Bought some Domestos at a Co-op supermarket last night, and I was looking up and down the aisle thinking "How many?"

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mozz1965 [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Did anybody bother to see if it was actually his bike

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bashthebox [751 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm sorry, I seem to have stumbled onto the Mail online this morning. I can't find ways to up or downvote comments though, I'm confused.

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Animal [41 posts] 3 years ago
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Well, it was only a cyclist he hit you see. They do not count, they do not deserve the protection of the law. They are subhuman.

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 3 years ago
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She was seriously harmed - sounds like a period of loss of consciousness, concussion, head injury. So, an increased risk of seizures for the rest of her life.

And with loss of consciousness, the hospital will probably have had to scan her head - exposing her to a dose of ionizing radiation.

And he just gets a few weeks inside. Doesn't seem fair. Maybe he'll turn his life around though.

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toetruck [16 posts] 3 years ago
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Why not? "Well, I'd had a few drinks" always seems to be a perfectly acceptable excuse, both in court and to the general public.

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toetruck [16 posts] 3 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:

Since when was it a defence to be a druggie?
And a 'genuine' accident? When being chased by the Police??
What is wrong with bringing back trial by fire for scum like them?

Why not? "Well, I'd had a few drinks" always seems to be a perfectly acceptable excuse, both in court and to the general public.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 3 years ago
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toetruck wrote:
SideBurn wrote:

Since when was it a defence to be a druggie?
And a 'genuine' accident? When being chased by the Police??
What is wrong with bringing back trial by fire for scum like them?

Why not? "Well, I'd had a few drinks" always seems to be a perfectly acceptable excuse, both in court and to the general public.

It is rather depressing that drinking/smoking/drugs are considered cool

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arowland [150 posts] 3 years ago
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The judge didn't say Watson's action in colliding with Sarah Slater was not a crime, nor that being a drug addict is an excuse. He simply acknowledged that the only penalty available is a fine and imposing one would be pointless. (My only knowledge of this is from the article and I don't know anything about the law. Defence Counsel apparently said, "The matter can only be dealt with by way of a fine and he is not in a position to pay.")

It does seem wrong that in this instance the law seems to treat a theft of property more seriously than a crime against the person that left the victim with bad injuries.

It begs the question of why a community service order was not available. In fact, it has been shown that short prison sentences do no good: it is not long enough for any programmes to be put in place to tackle the offender's drug problem. He would have been better off with a longer community sentence and a rehabilitation programme. Perhaps he could have made restitution to Sarah Slater in some way through that -- doing her garden, mending her bike or whatever. As it is, the punishment given is not likely to prevent re-offending and Sarah may well feel that she has had no justice.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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bashthebox wrote:

I'm sorry, I seem to have stumbled onto the Mail online this morning. I can't find ways to up or downvote comments though, I'm confused.

The Mail's headline would be "Cyclist who knocked out Woman escapes punishment."