A London property developer has been jailed for two years and three months after he deliberately ran over a cyclist in a road rage incident. Clifford Harper then got out of his BMW and told Peter Corfe, “I will run you over again if I have to.”
Mail Online reports that Harper and Corfe had traded insults while in slow-moving traffic in Marylebone, central London on March 31.
Harper then swerved into Corfe, who suffered a broken back as a result of the collision.
Cynthia McFarlane, prosecuting, said one passer-by recalled hearing a male voice saying: “Watch where you're going” and then a car accelerating and a screeching noise.
“That was this defendant's red BMW, deliberately driven by this defendant into the cyclist knocking him off his bike.
“As the witnesses walked over to the cyclist, the driver of the red BMW, the defendant, gets out of his car, walks over to the cyclist and says: 'I'll do it again'.”
Harper left the scene. He was identified from CCTV footage and photographs of the car taken by witnesses.
When arrested on April 12, he told police that scratches on his car that were sustained in the collision 'had been there for years' and offered no comment when shown the CCTV footage.
He subsequently admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving at a hearing earlier this month.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Harper had temporarily 'lost his mind' due to pressure in his personal life.
Sarah Iskarous, defending, said that Harper, the company director of a firm employing 150 people, was the sole provider for his wife and daughter and was paying for the private care of his sick parents. He had been on his way to see an ophthalmologist after being diagnosed with cataracts and has a metal heart valve giving him a current expected life span of six years.
Judge Philip Bartle, QC, said: “I have seen the CCTV of the driving in question. It is truly shocking. There isn't any doubt at all that what you did was to deliberately drive at Peter Corfe.
“As a result of that deliberate intention to drive at Mr Corfe you knocked him off his bike and he fractured his spine. It was, as I say, a deliberate, shocking, appalling piece of driving which has had devastating consequences for Mr Corfe.
“I have read his victim impact statement. He records that he was in excruciating pain as a result of the injuries which you caused. He was in hospital for nine days and it has taken considerable time for him to deal with those injuries.”
After accepting that the incident was out of character and taking into account Harper's health problems and reliant relatives, Bartle sentenced Harper to two years and three months in jail and ordered him to pay £5,000 compensation to Corfe.
He was also banned from driving for three years, handed six penalty points and ordered to take an extended retest.
Commenting on the verdict, Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns said:
"If Clifford Harper's annoyance with another road user was all it took for him to lose his mind and fly into a rage, you have to ask whether he has the right temperament to be allowed to carry on driving.
“Merely suspending that entitlement for three years, even with a re-test requirement – which will assess his ability to drive rather than control his temper – sends the wrong message. Why should someone who deliberately drives into someone, threatens to do it again, and then leaves his victim seriously injured on the road, be trusted to behave more rationally in three years’ time?
“Time and time again road safety campaigners from diverse organisations implore the Government to look again at the use of longer and lifetime driving disqualifications. Time and time again nothing happens. Unless and until drivers with anger problem are banned either for life, or until they can show that they have addressed their problem, all road users will continue to be placed at unnecessary risk.
“The Government talks about taking road danger seriously, but if this was the case then we would not still be waiting for its review of all road traffic offences and penalties promised three years ago."