Road rage attack ended in abuse and headbutt
A VAN driver who tailgated another vehicle as it drove through Frome, followed it in an aggressive manner then headbutted the other driver when he confronted him.
The victim claimed James Martin had been acting in an intimidating manner, driving closely behind him and revving the engine.
When the victim made a hand gesture towards the defendant as they stopped at traffic lights Martin followed him back to his house and a confrontation occurred.
When the victim went up to Martin's window to ask what was going on he responded by headbutting him and drove off, Somerset Magistrates were told.
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Martin, 28, of Compton Gardens, Frome, pleaded guilty to assaulting Peter James Eric Rollinson by beating him during the incident at Frome on June 15.
Emma Chetland, prosecuting, said that Mr Rollinson was driving his family home through the High Street in Frome when he became aware of a Volkswagen Transporter van behind him being driven by Martin.
"He found the driving of the van aggressive and intimidating as the defendant was driving close behind him, revving loudly and spinning his wheels," she said.
"During the course of the journey he got exasperated with the closeness of the van and at a set of traffic lights he stuck two fingers up at Martin out of frustration."
When Mr Rollinson got home his wife took their young son inside and they called the police.
"The van then drove past his house and appeared to do a handbrake turn and came back to where he was parked," said Mrs Chetland.
"Mr Rollinson walked up to Martin's vehicle door and shouted 'what the hell do you think you're doing?'and almost immediately the defendant got out and headbutted the victim to the face then got back into his vehicle and drove off."
An independent witness also saw the assault on Mr Rollinson who suffered a cut and swelling to the right side of his mouth.
Jeffrey Bannister, defending, said that Martin claimed the closeness of the two vehicles was as a result of Mr Rollinson having a row with his wife while driving and it was him who was braking erratically.
"At the traffic lights he had two fingers put up at him and he followed him to take down his registration number but denies doing a handbrake turn although accepts there may have been a wheel spin," he said.
"The other person then got out of his car and came over towards my client shouting at him and saying he was driving like a lunatic and tailgating him.
"He said that Mr Rollinson took hold of his driver's door to prevent him from getting out but he then managed to remonstrate with him.
"He felt very intimidated but accepts he then headbutted him out of frustration but the whole incident only lasted a matter of seconds."
Magistrates told Martin they considered the offence to be very serious and sentenced him to a 12-month community order with a requirement to carry out 140 hours unpaid work.
They also ordered him to pay £200 compensation to Mr Rollinson along with £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.