Road rage driver followed woman to Deeside car park before punching her in the face

Reporter:

Alan Davies

A road rage driver followed a lone woman driver to her workplace car park and punched her in the face.

Self-employed IT consultant Jonathan Campbell, 43, had been driving in the outside lane of the M56 motorway in his Peugeot for some time.

Joanne Macey was making her way to work in her BMW convertible and in the end decided to under-take him – and did so safely.

But a court heard how he then drove up behind her, undertook her and clipped her car, causing some minor damage.

He then followed her along the A494 to Deeside Industrial Park and she was so concerned that she dialled 999.

When she pulled up in the car park at Iceland Frozen Foods she believed he may want to exchange details.

But he photographed her car and then put the phone through the open window to take a photograph of her face.

When she tried to push him away he punched her in the mouth, said prosecutor Rhian Jackson.

The police control room could hear everything that went on and a CCTV recording of the attack was played at Flintshire Magistrates Court at Mold yesterday.

She was left with a cut lip, was off work for two days with anxiety, and had changed her route and time to work so that she would not see him again.

The attack was witnessed by another driver arriving for work.

But when arrested, Campbell denied doing anything wrong and said that when he went to photograph the driver, he falsely alleged that she had bitten his finger.

He also falsely claimed that she had bumped his car on the
dual-carriageway.

Initially Campbell, of Longshaw Street in Warrington, denied an assault charge following the incident on July 29, but pleaded guilty on the day of trial.

Magistrates, who were told Campbell now accepted the prosecution case against him and was very sorry, received a 12 week prison sentence suspended for a year.

He was ordered to carry out 80 hours unpaid work and pay her £200 compensation.

Campbell was also ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs and a £115 surcharge.

Magistrates told Campbell, who had no previous convictions, that it did pass the custody threshold.

He had refused to take responsibility for his actions until the last moment and had followed a female driver, vulnerable and alone, to her workplace.

But it was a single blow and he had pleaded guilty.

Miss Jackson said Campbell got out of his car and started taking photographs of her vehicle with his mobile phone.

He then walked to the driver’s window and “put the phone to her face” to take a photograph.

She tried to push him away and he “suddenly punched her to the face as she sat inside the car”.

He then walked back to his car and drove away as she stood in front to try and stop him.

The prosecutor said his car struck her at a very slow speed as it then drove around her.

Police contacted him and left messages for him but he did not respond – and he was stopped by police on his way to work in August when he agreed to attend Deeside police station for a voluntary interview.

In that interview, he alleged her car had struck his and that she bit his finger when he photographed her. He also made further allegations against her.

But Fiona Larkin, defending, said Campbell accepted the prosecution case. He was normally an upstanding citizen and was full of remorse.

Campbell was not proud of his behaviour that day, she said.

She said his vehicle had been hit before by people who drove off but that was no excuse for what he had done. Things appeared to have got out of hand.

But it was, she said, a one-off isolated incident by a man who worked, contributed to society, and who cared for his three children three days one week and four days the next.

“He made a stupid mistake for which he is extremely sorry,” she said. “He did not think what he was doing.

“Unfortunately, what happened, happened.”

Thankfully the injuries were minima, the solicitor said.

Probation officer Andrew Connah said Campbell intended to take a photograph of the complainant’s car and number plate and appreciated that he should have left it at that.

Email:

alan.davies@nwn.co.uk

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