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Road rage driver who told cyclist he “shouldn't even be in the road” fined

Sylvanna Hall also smashed Jan Laffan’s phone in incident in Bristol

A driver who told a cyclist he “shouldn't even be in the road” and smashed his phone has been fined £100 and banned from driving for eight weeks.

Sylvanna Hall, from Patchway, was also ordered to pay £250 in compensation to Jan Laffan for the damage to his phone after the road rage incident on St Mark’s Road, Easton, on 29 December last year, reports the Bristol Post.

Hall, aged 33, admitted causing criminal damage when she appeared at Bristol Magistrates' Court on July 2 and admitted criminal damage to a £250 phone owned by cyclist Jan Laffan.

Summarising the case, District Judge Lynne Matthews told the court: “The defendant was said to have shouted, 'Get out my way, you're on a bike, you shouldn't even be in the road’.”

Hall encountered Mr Laffan about 10 minutes later, whereupon the driver stopped her car, got out, and threatened to “f*ck [him] up.”

Mr Laffan, who had started recording the encounter on his mobile phone, was said to have headbutted Hall, who responded by punching him.

Hall then “took the victim's phone, deliberately dropped it to the ground and smashed it,” the judge said.

Defending Hall, Dianne Heys said: “She does go into the bus lane and accepts she was angry, but in terms of the physical confrontation, he headbutts her, she reacts to that and hits him.

“He is videoing her, she doesn't want to be photographed or videoed, she takes the phone, he tussles with her to get it back, and it falls to the floor. She denies it was a deliberate throw.

“It's clear things got somewhat out of hand,” Ms Heys added. “Ms Hall’s children were in the back of the vehicle. They are aged 11 and eight, and she is the sole carer of those children.

“She works as a support worker, she works very hard and has some support from her mother, but essentially it's just her and her children. She has never been in trouble before.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Laffan said he is now nervous about riding on St Mark’s Road and Stapleton Road.

He said: “The route I travelled is the one I usually go to visit family and friends. This has made it very stressful to travel that route and I have started avoiding it. This has added extra time to my journey.

“Stapleton Road can be stressful anyway with regard to traffic, and this has made it even more so,” he said.

The judge told Hall: “When parents behave in a reprehensible manner in the presence of children, the children learn that type of behaviour is acceptable, and clearly it's far from acceptable.

“You have reflected on your behaviour and entered a guilty plea today. I give you full credit for that.”

The defence had said in mitigation that imposing a driving ban on Hall would cause her problems related to caring for her children.

In response, the judge said: “I accept that, but it is something you think of before committing an offence, not after.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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