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Close passing motorist repeatedly punched cyclist before wishing witnesses a 'Merry Christmas'

“What saves you from custody today is the current Covid restrictions”

A former serviceman has been handed a suspended 12-month prison sentence after he ‘took exception’ to a cyclist’s reaction to a dangerous overtake, got out of his car and punched him in the face.

Devon Live reports that at about 11.45am on December 26, 2019, Philip Corner came up behind a cyclist on Yelland Road near Barnstaple.

Prosecutor Richard Crabb said that while other drivers overtook the cyclist without issue, Corner passed closely before pulling sharply in front.

The cyclist waved his arms at this and Corner pulled over. When the cyclist stopped by his window to ask why he had passed so closely, Corner got out of his car and punched the cyclist in the face.

“The punches continued as he forced the cyclist back across the road,” said Crabb.

The victim said he was hit about five times, while Corner said it was only twice.

A number of people tried to intervene before Corner returned to his car, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas as he did so.

The cyclist suffered a fracture to his eye socket, numbness and tingling to his face and still experiences blurred vision. The court heard he had made 15 trips to the hospital related to his injuries.

Corner later returned to the scene, telling police he had acted in self-defence after being hit first. He later claimed that he was scared and had lashed out believing he would be punched.

Defending, Emily Pitts said Corner had set money aside to pay compensation.

Judge David Evans said Corner was, “a realistic rehabilitation prospect,” adding, “I suspect you may have learned your lesson.”

He said: "You were clearly experiencing some sadness in your life for various reasons and the cyclist remonstrated at your window when you pulled over. But none of that goes any way to explain why you lost your temper that day.

“This was an explosion of unjustifiable aggression which I'm sure you regretted as soon as it happened.

"You got out of your car and punched a man more than once. Not to your credit you drove away, then you drove back and told a lie.

"You're a big man and have got experience of boxing. What saves you from custody today is the current Covid restrictions. I'm not sure you'd enjoy it with the sort of people we have to send there on a regular basis.”

As well as the suspended sentence, Corner will also have to pay £500 in court costs. The victim will receive £1,500.

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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