A London motorist who used her car “as a weapon” to ram a cyclist after he complained about her using a mobile phone while driving has been jailed for three years, reports the Evening Standard.
Cycle courier Damien Doughty, aged 38, was forced to turn to crowdfunding to be able to pay his rent after the road rage attack in Stoke Newington on 10 February 2016.
He spent two weeks in intensive care following the incident and has been unable to return to his job due to his injuries.
Wood Green Crown Court heard that 25-year-old Justine Henshaw-Bryan drove after the cyclist as he tried to evade her and ran him off the road into a tree.
He sustained broken ribs as well as a damaged liver as a result of her actions, which happened after he asked her to put her phone away and was told to “f*ck off.”
Sentencing the driver to three year’ imprisonment, Judge Gregory Perrins said: "This was not an accident caused by your reckless driving, it involved an attempt to run him over, effectively using your car as a weapon.
"It is not inconceivable that your deliberate actions could have killed him.
"This was a severe piece of dangerous driving, deliberately pursuing a cyclist and taking a conscious and calculated decision to ram him off the road."
The judge added: "Those who are unable to control their temper when driving and feel that cyclists are somehow fair game must understand the courts will deal with them seriously.”
Mr Doughty, who admitted having kicked the car’s wing mirror “in a moment of madness” said: "I remember the car rear-ending me, letting out a scream as I realised what was happening.
"I realised I had been hit, and within an instant I'm in a crumpled heap on the floor in extreme amounts of pain, fully aware that the car was long gone."
Initially, Henshaw-Bryan tried to pin the blame on her former boyfriend whom she claimed had grabbed the steering wheel, something he denied in court.
The driver, who is nearly three months’ pregnant, was a full-time carer to her mother, who is disabled.
She had pleaded not guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, but was convicted by the jury.
As well as the three-year prison sentence, she was banned from driving for four-and-a-half years.
In mitigation, her defence barrister, David Rhodes, said: "Imprisonment is going to be a real deal for her mother, she needs her daughter for her daily basic care needs and is now going to have to make other arrangements.
"By her own foolish actions she has now put her mother in hardship."
Following sentencing, Mr Doughty said: “I hope it acts as a message to dangerous drivers. I recognise the same behaviour from drivers every single day.
“Drivers don’t understand how dangerous their behaviour can be on the road, you only realise it on a bike when there is nothing to protect you.
“So many people who are nice get into their cars and turn into absolute maniacs.”
Speaking about Ms Henshaw-Bryan, he said: “If it was up to me then she wouldn’t be allowed to drive again, absolutely not.
“If somebody abuses the power of driving a car it should be taken away from them.
“She used it as a weapon against me. If she had a gun licence but shot me that would be taken away forever as well," he added.
Simon joined road.cc 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.