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Home Medway News Article
A father terrified a family in a road-rage attack and eight months later was involved in another episode of dangerous driving in almost the same spot, a court heard.
Realising he was in more trouble on the second occasion, Graham Taylor burnt out the car – his sister's – in attempt to destroy evidence.
Now the 29-year-old, from Rochester, has been jailed for three-and-a-half years after a judge said it was astonishing nobody was injured by his driving.
Taylor, of Shorts Way, admitted two offences of dangerous driving, criminal damage and arson. He was banned from driving for five years.
Maidstone Crown Court was told James Driscoll was driving his wife and two-year-old son in their Cherokee Jeep on Sunday June 30 last year.
As they approached a slip road on the M20, Taylor "tore" up behind in his Vauxhall Zafira and braked close to them.
"Taylor got out and ran towards the car shouting. Mr Driscoll's wife was screaming in fear. He hit the window with his fist and kicked the driver's door..." - prosecutor Bartholomew O'Toole
Prosecutor Bartholomew O'Toole said Mr Driscoll continued towards Blue Bell Hill with Taylor about a foot behind. Taylor drew alongside on the dual carriageway and aggressively gestured with a finger.
Mr Driscoll sounded his horn and Taylor responded by trying to force him towards the central reservation. He then cut across in front, "zoomed ahead" and stopped in the middle lane.
"It was not enough for him to pass, he had to stop," said Mr O'Toole. "Taylor got out and ran towards the car shouting. Mr Driscoll's wife was screaming in fear.
"He hit the window with his fist and kicked the driver's door, causing damage. Mr Driscoll managed to reverse and continue driving.
"He went under a bridge towards Chatham and then saw the Vauxhall speeding towards him again."
Mr Driscoll pulled over, but Taylor struck it "like a police stopping manoeuvre". Recorder Mark Van der Zwart accepted that Taylor had not rammed the car.
He then shot off at high speed, leaving Mrs Driscoll terrified and their son crying.
When arrested, Taylor was in bed drunk. He was abusive to police, telling them: "Get out of my face."
When interviewed he made admissions, but said Mr Driscoll must have annoyed him.
He was on bail when on March 7 this year he borrowed his sister Nikola's Mazda 5 car.
As he drove onto a roundabout at Blue Bell Hill, he struck another car - sending it into a 360-degree spin.
Taylor drove off and later used petrol to burn out the Mazda. He asked his sister to report it stolen, but she told police he had crashed it and set it alight.
The court heard Taylor had 13 previous convictions for 16 offences, including criminal damage and drink-driving in 2009.
"He is now the proud father of an eight-month-old boy. He said if he knew there was a mother and child in the car he would never have done anything like this..." - James Ross, defending
Recorder Van der Zwart said instead of Taylor stopping and giving his details in the second case, he drove off "demonstrating you cared nothing for the occupants of the car".
He added: "You did your level best to destroy the evidence of your guilt. You set the car alight and destroyed it."
The judge told Taylor: "I acknowledge a lengthy sentence will be a significant blow to you and your family. But this was a protracted and serious example of aggressive driving.
"It was a shocking risk of harm you presented to road users on two occasions and you present a danger to other road users."
Taylor will pay a high price for his crazed behaviour behind the wheel - he will miss his baby son taking his first steps as he languishes in prison.
James Ross, defending, said the father-of-three had been in a relationship for seven years and married his partner two weeks after the first driving incident.
"He is now the proud father of an eight-month-old boy," said Mr Ross. "He said if he knew there was a mother and child in the car he would never have done anything like this.
"He is mortified to learn he also scared a woman and child."
But Recorder Van der Zwort said it "beggared belief" Taylor could have been oblivious when he kicked the car.
Mr Ross said the second incident was not deliberate and Taylor just intended to give the driver "the hump".
"He was working at the time in the double glazing industry," he said. "His earnings were low and he could only make ends meet by working long hours.
"He was becoming more and more wound up. His fuse was becoming shorter and shorter. He must have thought the gods were against him."
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