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Home   Medway   News   Article

Furious ex-Rainham School for Girls teacher Shane Coventry hits biker Jonathan Clark with metal bar in road rage attack

11 December 2013
by Keith Hunt

Rainham School for Girls in Derwent Way

Rainham School for Girls in Derwent Way

A former Medway teacher is facing sentence over a road rage incident in which he attacked a motorcyclist with a metal bar.

Shane Coventry lost his temper after he claimed he was dazzled in his car by Jonathan Clark's headlight.

The 35-year-old ex-teacher at Rainham School for Girls drove after the victim and bumped him several times before striking his arm with the bar.

Coventry, of Taswell Road, Rainham, denied dangerous driving, assault and having an offensive weapon but was convicted by a jury.

Mr Clark said he was on riding his 125cc Sports Cruiser motorcycle to Rainham recreation ground on the evening of November 22 last year to meet friends when he saw a Vauxhall Astra car in front of him.

Coventry slowed down and pulled over with his hazard lights on. Mr Clark overtook but Coventry then followed.

"It pulled off really quickly nearly taking my back wheel out," Mr Clark told Maidstone Crown Court. "I didn't think anything of it. I continued down Maidstone Road. He was getting very close to the back of me.

"I slowed down at traffic lights and he bumped me. It shocked me. I thought it was an accident. He bumped me a second and third time.

"He was shouting, being very irate doing hand gestures. I was annoyed and swore. He bumped me a fourth time. I got a little angry."

The case is being heard at Maidstone Crown Court

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Mr Clark added: "When he got out of the car he said I was blinding him with my lights. He said to me: 'Do you think you are a hard man?’ I told him my lights were not on full beam.

"I said even if they were it was no reason to keep hitting me. He went back to his car and pulled a metal bar from the passenger side. It was about two-and-a-half feet long.

"He came over shouting. He hit me on the arm. Then he hit my leg. He was shouting and swearing. I was wearing my full protective motorcycle gear.

"I didn't believe it was happening. I was very scared. I thought he was going to give me a real beating..." - road rage victim Jonathan Clark

"I was shocked more than anything. I didn't believe it was happening. I was very scared. I thought he was going to give me a real beating."

Mr Clark, who lived in Rainham at the time, said Coventry tried pushing his motorbike over while he was still astride it. He claimed he said: "Take off or I will stab you and kill you."

The victim left and when he arrived at the rec he told his friend to call the police.

However, Coventry denied in evidence that he wielded a metal bar or assaulted the victim in any way.

He said he became upset about the way Mr Clark had driven, claiming it was dangerous.

"His lights were blinding me," he said. "I said in no uncertain terms I thought his driving was of a poor standard. I would have used expletives.

"He was driving dangerously. He apologised and as far as I was concerned it was the end of the matter. I didn't threaten him. I didn't have anything in my hands."He goaded me with his hands gesturing. I said what an idiot he had been. He apologised to me. It was a frank exchange. If anything, it was a telling off.

"The motorbike turned right into Rainham High Street. I live that way. I went down William Street and then to my road."

Scales of justice

Coventry said he thought it was "over the top" when he was arrested. His reaction was that he never hit Mr Clark with anything.

"I was in complete shock," he said. "The metal pole is the handle for the car jack. It was in the back of the car."

Coventry said he was unwell at the time from a stress-related condition and did not consider himself well enough to be interviewed.

"I didn't hit him in any way," he said of Mr Clark. "I didn't bump him with the car. I never produced a metal bar. It was a verbal argument."

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC adjourned sentence for reports.

Rainham School for Girls executive head teacher Karen Roberts said Coventry left the school in January after four years teaching ICT.

She said: "Mr Coventry was a member of teaching staff at Rainham School until January 31, 2013.

"At the time of the incident for which he was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court he was absent from work and the school were not made aware of the incident prior to his departure from the school."

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