A pensioner in Cambridge has been convicted of assault after she tipped a bag of dog excrement over a cyclist whom she claimed had ridden too close to her on a shared use path at Trumpington. A number of people commenting on a local newspaper report of the case say the woman concerned has a regular history of abusing cyclists - though it seems that it is this specific incident that prompted authorities to take action.
Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard that 75-year-old Susan Currall, a retired civil servant who once worked at the British embassy in Washington DC, had issues with cyclists speeding on the path, reports Cambridge News.
The victim, 40-year-old American citizen Michael Ramage, a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of Cambridge, said he feared meeting fellow Trumpington resident Currall while cycling after several prior encounters with her, including while riding with his children.
In the incident that gave rise to the court case, Currall swung a plastic bag containing her pet dog’s faeces at Mr Ramage then allowed its contents to tip over him – something he described as a “pretty unpleasant” experience.
The pensioner, who pleaded guilty to assault by beating, was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay Mr Curran £25 compensation. Currall, who had been cautioned for common assault and criminal damage in 2007, also has to pay £100 costs.
In a statement read to the court, Mr Ramage revealed that after the attack Currall told the cyclist to “go cry to your mummy” and called him a “big bully.”
Following the hearing, Mr Ramage said: “I would not change my route, but I do go down there with a lot of trepidation.
“I’m not physically intimidated, I know I won’t suffer any serious injury, but the mental anguish with having to deal with an encounter, that’s what it’s really all about. I have encountered her with my kids and it’s upsetting for them.”
Referring to the sentence imposed on Currall, he said: “Hopefully it will mean something to her and change her behaviour so I think I’m happy from that point of view.”
Speaking in mitigation of her client, solicitor Monica Lentin had said that Currall “felt anxious” due to cyclists riding too quickly and that Mr Ramage had “provoked” her by passing by too close to her.
“These young people come hurtling towards her [Currall] and they do not give way to her.
“She did not see him [Mr Ramage] coming in the opposite direction and he was not stopping for her which certainly in the olden days, a man on a bike would have got off and let her through.”
However, several comments to the Cambridge News story suggest that it was not an isolated incident and that Mr Ramage was far from the first cyclist targeted for abuse by Currall.
One, from site user Wookey, claimed she had regularly harassed cyclists on the path:
This woman has been blocking the shared-use path past Trumpington allotments for years, and haranguing cyclists, and has been cautioned before because of it. Recently the signage was changed to make the status of this path clear, and at least give hassled cyclists something official to point to…
I expect it ended up in court because this chap got fed up of abuse (and eventually ****-flinging) on his way to work. Yes that would be excessive for a one-off, but not a pattern over years. She may not like the fact that this path has been designated shared-use, and we'd all like it to be wider, like so many other places, but trying to harass users by incorrectly telling them they are not allowed there is not the way to improve matters.”
Another comment, from MHSBWT, detailed claims that Currall had subjected children riding on the path to verbal abuse:
My childrens (twin boys) first experience of this woman's unstable mental health was when they were 7 years old, when she verbally assaulted them as they were very courteously cycling past her, I was with them (they are now nearly 13). Since then there have been many other instances, including Ms Currall stepping in front of one of them whilst he was ON THE CYCLE LANE, cycling down the bridge on Shelford Road, Trumpington, fortunately my son was alert enough to swerve to avoid collision, again I witnessed this myself. The residents of Trumpington have been putting up with this behavior for a long time. Most children who take that route to school are told to avoid her. This is also not the first time she has physically assaulted someone. She has gone too far! It surprised us all that she had a bag of dog poo with her because again for years she has been seen to leave her dogs poo on the pavements. This is not about bullying a pensioner.
Mr Ramage’s wife also posted a comment, under the name Akramage, in which she said:
My husband was the one hit with the bag of poo. This woman is a total nuisance in the community and terrorizes anyone on a bike who crosses her path, including children. Even if people slow down when passing her, she will block the path with an angry scowl, aggressive speech and sometimes force (she has been known to hit bikers with her hands and once even with a stick). Let's hope she's learned her lesson. Only time will tell....
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.