Published: 14:32, 08 March 2018 |
A minor traffic incident boiled over into road rage which left a cyclist with a life changing brain injury, a court heard.
Julian Webster struck his head on the ground after motorbike rider John Paterson, still wearing his full face crash helmet, floored him with a single punch.
The 61-year-old victim was airlifted to a London hospital and needed emergency surgery for a blood clot to his brain. He is still seriously ill.
A jury was shown CCTV footage of the build-up to the assault which happened near traffic lights on the corner of Rochester Esplanade and the High Street on the morning of Sunday, May 28.
It showed Mr Webster on his bike and Paterson waiting at the lights on his motorcycle with his girlfriend on the pillion.
As Paterson, 26, crossed the junction, Mr Webster came off his cycle. Paterson stopped and was confronted by the victim.
Paterson’s girlfriend attempted to step between them but he pushed her aside and lashed out with his left hand. Mr Webster, from Rochester, was left lying on his back, seriously injured.
Prosecutor Ed Fowler told Maidstone Crown Court Paterson then left the scene and later lied to the police that his motorbike had been stolen.
Paterson, of Frindsbury Road, Strood, denied inflicting grievous bodily harm, but was convicted by a majority of 10-2 today by the jury of eight men and four women.
He admitted driving while disqualified and having no insurance.
Adjourning to April 6 for reports, Judge Martin Huseyin said it was not an indication of what the sentence would be, and indicated it “may well be” imprisonment.
Paterson claimed in evidence he was acting in self-defence after Mr Webster attacked him.
He said he had been on his way to meet a friend in Borstal to go to Dockside to raise money for charity.
Paterson, who was wearing Union Jack shorts, said he saw the cyclist and thought he was going to collide with him.
“I did scream ‘****‘ because I thought I was going to take the guy out,” he told the jury. “He may have taken that as me shouting at him.
“He dropped his bike. I looked back. I thought he had come off his bike. The gentleman approached me. He was very irate, screaming and swearing.
“He grabbed my helmet. I had my visor up. He reached into my helmet and was pulling and pushing me. He pulled my face down.
“I let go of my bike. It was in gear and still running. It stalled and jumped. He was saying ‘You ******* want it. Who the **** do you think you are?’
“I thought it was completely uncalled for. I didn’t understand what I had done wrong. I was just saying: ‘Let go of me.’ I didn’t want to be assaulted.
“The gentleman would not leave. I was frightened. He had run up and started assaulting me. Now, he is threatening to do it again. I didn’t know what to do and I reacted.
“I felt a kick to my groin. I gave a left punch in order to get him away from me. That’s what I felt I needed to do. I am right handed.
“It was then ‘****, what have I done?’ I didn’t expect him to fall like that. I went back to my motorcycle. I couldn’t believe what just happened. It was a state of shock.
“Yes, I left. I felt shameful when I Ieft. I didn’t realise he had been badly hurt. I didn’t intend him to be badly hurt. I saw online he had been airlifted to hospital and saw how serious it was.”
“I panicked. I thought it would be put on me. I was worried about how it would be perceived.”
Mr Fowler told Paterson: “This man had come over and remonstrated with you, perhaps unjustifiably, but you were going to teach him a lesson.”
Paterson described it as “an irrational swing with the arm”.
Conditional bail was continued.
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