Victim was told “I thought you were a bloke” in immediate aftermath of the incident

A van driver who seriously injured a triathlete by pulling her off her bike has been given a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay her £5,000 compensation. Martyn Lee pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at an earlier hearing.

The BBC reports that Lee had been driving his silver Ford Transit on Low Wath Road, Pateley Bridge, near Harrogate in May last year, when Livesey swerved in front of him.

Speaking at the October hearing, Shawn Morales, prosecuting, said: "The defendant had been driving along when the complainant, who was at the left side of the road, had moved over to the right to avoid hitting a dog.

"As she pulled across the road, the defendant had to then drive into the middle of both carriageways to narrowly miss Mrs Livesey.

"The complainant said the defendant then drove past her shouting something about 'undertaking', referring to a previous incident of driving down the inside lane.

"Further down the road he had stopped and, as the complainant went past, he rugby tackled her from the bike and she hit the back of her head on the road surface.”

Lee is then said to have told Livesey "I thought you were a bloke" before apologising.

The semi-professional triathlete from Harrogate had been hoping to qualify for last year’s World Championships, but was left with a bone fracture in the pelvic region and cuts and bruises to her lower back and head. She was unable to cycle for eight weeks.

"I have lost earnings. I lost out in prize money for qualification to these events and I am still in part-time employment," she wrote in a victim impact statement.

Speaking after sentencing, she added: "I don't really see 'you were a bloke' as a defence. If he had knocked a man off their bike it wouldn't be any better, he assaulted somebody – whether they were male or female doesn't matter.”

Livesey has since moved to Mallorca and explained: "One of the reasons we came out here is the roads are really safe and the drivers are very considerate and expect a lot of cyclists on the roads.

"There is definitely a selection of drivers in the UK who think it's ok to be aggressive and react in a road rage type situation to cyclists.

"Drivers do not know the physical impact they can have on cyclists by not just waiting their turn – so many times I've had drivers swearing and trying to scare me. If they get it wrong, for a cyclist it could be game over – it's really not ok.”

At the October hearing, the court heard that Lee’s plumbing business suffered in the wake of the case following what was described as “a hate campaign” on social media.

Livesey denied a hate campaign, explaining: "We live in a very small town near Pately Bridge, myself and husband are well known in the local area. We know everyone in the village and word got out."

Sentencing, Recorder Nicholas Barker said he chose to suspend the sentence due to Lee's remorse and because he had proved with his current employment he "could make a meaningful compensation".

Lee was also handed a community order to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work to be completed within the year.

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