A driver has been handed a suspended sentence after he deliberately ran down a cyclist near Plymouth. Paul Nodder, aged 37, chased and knocked over Jeff Stevenson after the cyclist remonstrated with him for driving with his head down.
The Plymouth Herald reports that Stevenson was cycling home from work along an unclassified road between Holbeton and Noss Mayo on June 26 last year when he encountered Nodder heading in the opposite direction, driving in the middle of the road.
“The defendant had his head down and was not looking where he was going,” said Nigel Hall, for the Crown Prosecution Service.
Nodder was said to have swerved violently back to the left when Stevenson urged him to get over, but after the two had passed, he turned round and deliberately drove into the cyclist, who was riding a £5,000 bike. GPS data showed the cyclist’s speed went from 22.7mph to zero at the moment of impact.
Stevenson was taken to Derriford Hospital with grazing and cuts and bruising and was off work for several days.
A witness described Nodder’s BMW coming from behind and knocking Stevenson into the air.
Judge James Townsend said: “This was a quite deliberate bad piece of driving committed on a cyclist, a vulnerable road user. He was put at substantial risk of being very seriously injured or worse. “t was perhaps miraculous that he survived with nasty but not severe injuries.”
Michael Green, defending, said Nodder suffered from learning difficulties, anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder and had suffered a breakdown several years ago.
He added: “He feels terrible for the injuries he has caused. He will commit to any suspended sentence fully.”
Nodder had a previous conviction and ban for driving without due care and attention in 2014.
He admitted dangerous driving and leaving the scene.
Judge Townsend handed Nodder an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 80 hours unpaid work and an 18-month driving ban.
Townsend explained that the lack of a serious previous conviction was one reason why he did not impose a prison sentence, the other being that Nodder suffered “particular difficulties which would make a prison sentence particularly difficult” for him.