Published: 00:01, 05 June 2017 |
A new dad accused of running over a hospital doctor in a road rage attack has told how he feared he would miss seeing his baby grow up.
Kurtis Malik – whose daughter Lola is just 12 weeks old – was facing a long stretch behind bars if convicted of deliberately driving at cyclist Dr Kevin Ward.
But the 26-year-old gas engineer told of his relief after he was cleared of all charges by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court.
“If the jury had not believed me, I would never have seen my little girl grow up,” he said.
“My partner, Hannah, would effectively have become a single mum and my career would be in ruins.
“I was told that a guilty verdict could have seen me jailed for more than six years. I cannot describe the pressure.
“Now I really know what it feels like to have a weight lifted off your shoulders.”
Mr Malik was arrested in July, 2015 after Dr Ward, who lives in Preston, near Canterbury, was knocked off his bicycle by Mr Malik’s Citroen Berlingo van, which was parked in a farm entrance in Monkton.
Dr Ward told the court he had cycled up to the van with the intention of confronting Mr Malik over an alleged road-rage incident.
Mr Malik, of Vinton Close, Herne, says he pulled away without looking and drove into Dr Ward, who suffered cuts and bruises and a torn cartilage.
Dr Ward claimed Mr Malik had driven past him earlier that day and struck him with a piece of plastic piping.
He also alleged Mr Malik had shouted at him the day before, but Mr Malik claimed both incidents were cases of mistaken identity.
He told the jury he had only parked up to make a phone call and had pulled away quickly without looking up to see Dr Ward, admitting his carelessness caused the accident.
Speaking after the verdicts, he said the case had been like a dark cloud hanging over him and his partner Hannah Ruby, 27.
“There is now just a sense of overwhelming relief that it’s over and I’ve been cleared,” said Mr Malik, a competitive show jumper.
“When Hannah fell pregnant we were so happy, but because the case was still waiting to come to trial it put a downer on the whole experience.
“When it came to the trial, it was my word against that of a doctor and I wasn’t optimistic that I would be believed.
“What if the worst happened and I was jailed? It would leave Hannah to struggle on her own, my career would be ruined and my showjumping horses would have to be sold.
"To be honest, I could have cracked up while waiting for the trial, which took so long.
“Our lives were hanging in the balance but I’m so grateful to my barrister, Ian Deer, who really challenged the prosecution case and especially the identity evidence.”
Mr Malik was cleared of intending to cause grievous bodily harm, dangerous driving, criminal damage and two counts of actual bodily harm.
Miss Ruby, a nurse who met Mr Malik through horse riding, brought Lola to court on the day of the verdicts.
“I had to prepare myself for the worst so if the verdict went against Kurtis he would be able to say goodbye to Lola before being taken down. The whole experience has been so stressful.”
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