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Taff Trail cyclist seriously injured after drunk kicked out at him

Richard Burton suffered broken collarbone and bleeding on brain after incident in March, court hears

A court has heard how a cyclist riding on the Taff Trail in South Wales was left with injuries including a broken collarbone and bleeding on his brain after a woman kicked out at his bike as he passed her.

The incident happened as Richard Burton was riding home to Pontypridd from his work as a scientist at Nantgarw’s GE Aviation factory at 10.10pm on 24 March this year, reports

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard that Paula Williams, aged 30, had stuck a foot out as Mr Burton passed her, striking his front wheel and causing him to fall off.

The cyclist, who also sustained damage to nerves in his left eye, had to miss a planned trip to Spain to celebrate his 50th birthday as he recovered from his injuries.

Williams, whom the court was told had been drinking on the day in question and has a history of substance abuse and mental health problems as well as a prior criminal record for public order offences, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Michael Hammett, for the Crown, told the court that two schoolboys coming home from football practice encountered Williams on the shared-use path and she asked them the way to Treforest.

 “She was intoxicated and slurring her words,” he said.

As Mr Burton approached, the youths suggested they get out of the way, but Williams replied: “I’m not moving out the way for no f*cker,” and kicked out at the bicycle.

Mr Hammett added that following Mr Burton’s crash, she was initially concerned for him and even tried to give him a hug, but then appeared to lose interest in him.

He added: “She asked the boys to walk her home and when they refused she said: 'F*ck this I’m off'.”

Richard Ace, speaking in mitigation on Williams’ behalf, described her as a “troubled woman.”

Judge David Wynn Morgan handed her a 32-week prison sentenced suspended for two years as well as a six-month 7pm-7am curfew, adding that the extent of Mr Burton’s injuries meant that had he been able to, he would have jailed her for two and a half years.

“He also suffered financial losses of £2,500, all because you lost your patience and stabbed your foot out because you could not be bothered to get out of his way along the cycle path,” added the judge.

> Sustrans reminds Taff Trail users of responsibilities

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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