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4x4 driver hid behind hedge then jumped out to push cyclist off bike

Thomas Eckersley told to pay victim £900 in compensation following road rage incident in Cheshire

A 4x4 driver who drove ahead of a cyclist following an altercation between the pair hid behind a hedge then jumped out to push the rider from his bike, a court has heard.

Thomas Eckersley, aged 46, was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in connection with the incident in Mobberley, Cheshire on 11 May 2020, reports Mail Online.

He was also ordered to pay the victim, Johnathan Williams, who sustained a separated shoulder in the attack, compensation of £900.

Tameside Magistrates’ Court heard that the cyclist had been riding through roadworks as Eckersley was exiting his driveway in his Volvo XC 40.

Mr Williams, who had not realised that Eckersley’s wife and three-year-old child were nearby waving him off, told the court: “I carried on riding as I thought it was my right of way but the driver gave me a very small gap to cycle through.

“I used nasty language at him as I had very little room then I saw his child and felt really bad that I had sworn in front of a child.

“But I felt vulnerable I carried on riding and thought that's it it's over but then noticed a car revving behind me and saw it was the same Volvo.

“He pulled up alongside me in the middle of the road and was having a go at me. He said, ‘Listen here!’' and I told him to ‘f*ck off’.

“He then tried to stop me by pulling in front of me and then tapping on the brakes. We got to a T-junction and I said: ‘F*** off and die’ and then as we went up a narrow country lane he was leaving me not very much room.

“It was fight or flight, and I lashed out with my arm. I hit his wing mirror. He said he was going to ‘f*cking kill me’ then sped off.”

That appeared to be the end of the incident, but shortly afterwards Eckersley jumped out from behind a bush and pushed Mr Williams, who had been checking his bike computer, from his bicycle.

“I was feeling numb as I hit the ground and then heard him shout at me, ‘You're not f*cking hurt. You deserve this!’ He tried to lift me and grabbed my shoulder.

“He said if I had just apologised, this would not have happened. I was in quite a lot of pain. I remember getting into the ambulance and feeling shocked, and afterwards, I was angry.”

When police arrived, they found Mr Williams lying in the road, shouting at them to “get that man away from me. I don't want him near me.”

“I was really angry at the defendant and myself,” continued Mr Williams, who is still undergoing physiotherapy for his injuries and has left his job as a cycling customer sales manager.

“This aggravated my previous shoulder injury and it meant not being able to move my arm for a month and for six months, I couldn't lift any heavy objects.

“To this day, I'm still having some difficulty with that.'

Eckersley, who denied the charge, told the court:  “I had left my house to go to work when I saw Mr Williams and he started to raise his fingers at me and was swearing in my direction. He told me I was a ''f*cking idiot'' and raised his middle finger at me. My wife and young son, who was three, were outside.

“I said to him ‘listen here, mate. You've got this very wrong’ but he gave me a barrage of abuse. That’s when he said, ‘Stay two metres away from me’ and that's when he hit my wing mirror. He told me to ‘F*ck off and die!’ and I was just in disbelief.

The motorist claimed that he had stopped his car to adjust his wing mirror and just wanted to have a word with Mr Williams, denying that he had pushed him.

“I was standing in the road, saw him coming and put my hand up and he swerved and fell,” he said.

“I did not touch him at any point and asked him if he was okay but he told me I was a ‘psycho’. I am remorseful of the fact that Mr Williams has been injured but I wanted to get my point across to him,” he added.

Justice of the Peace John Lee, chairing the bench, told Eckersley: “There are not just the physical injuries that Mr Williams sustained, but also the psychological impact upon him after the incident.

“Whilst we believe there was a degree of provocation at the time, you did continue the altercation when you had ample opportunity to let it go,” he added.

Besides the fine, Eckersley has also been ordered to pay £865 in costs, handed a 12-month community order and told to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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