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Motorist who punched cyclist into oncoming traffic jailed for two years

“Will it teach him a lesson? I doubt it very much,” says victim

A driver who took exception to a cyclist asking him to leave more room when overtaking has been jailed for two years for punching him into oncoming traffic.

The BBC reports that Gareth Marshall, 43, was cycling on Beaufort Hill, Ebbw Vale on January 11 when he noticed revving behind him.

The motorist, Darren Hefferman, 37, was trying to overtake and was being prevented from doing so by oncoming traffic.

Stephen Donoghue, prosecuting, said: "Eventually [Hefferman] did go past. As the car passed, the passenger window was open and Mr Marshall said 'Give me a bit more room, mate' because he had gone quite close.

"Whether it was that or some other reason, the defendant became angry. Not very far up the road the defendant stopped his car and when Mr Marshall went past, the defendant punched him to the head or pushed him – in any event attacked him – and caused him to come off his bike and fall into the carriageway of the oncoming traffic."

Marshall hit his head on the bonnet of a van and ended up trapped under its wheels. He suffered a broken left collar bone, two fractures to his left shoulder, six or seven broken ribs, a damaged lung, a shattered pelvis, a dislocated right hip, a major burn to his lower back and three fractured vertebrae.

He was initially confined to a wheelchair but has since been able to walk again and has recently restarted cycling.

In a victim impact statement, Marshall said he had lost fitness and confidence, and was "unable to do the simplest of things". He added: "I dream of death or falling or being chased by a car that is trying to kill me."

Hefferman denied punching the cyclist and claimed Marshall had sworn at his wife, a passenger in the car, arguing that this was what had made him angry.

Jenny Yeo, defending, said: "He accepts responsibility and he tried to speak to Mr Marshall and his frustration led to the push, which led to devastating consequences but there was no intention to cause the injuries that were caused."

Judge Richard Williams said: "Mr Marshall was concerned about how close you passed and called out that you should make more room for cyclists.

"You took exception to this and decided to do something about this. You pulled into the side of the road and waited for Mr Marshall and as he rode by you pushed him off his bike.

"Your behaviour was arrogant, stupid and dangerous and it shows a total lack of self-control.

"Mr Marshall suffered catastrophic injuries from what you did and will have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of his life.

"This incident arose because of your total lack of ability to control your temper and the consequences for Mr Marshall will be life-long.

"Confrontations between road users of this kind must be deterred and when they happen they must be dealt with severely."

Speaking afterwards, Marshall said: "I am pleased he has gone to prison but will it teach him a lesson? I doubt it very much.

"He knew what he was doing. To say it was a push is a joke and to say I abused his wife is total nonsense.”

He added: "I am disappointed with the sentence he received and would have liked him to receive longer as a deterrent.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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