Published: 11:15, 01 December 2017 |
Updated: 11:54, 01 December 2017
Shocking footage shows the moment a thug violently shoves a parking warden to the ground as he was about to slap a parking ticket on his car.
Danny Corneille pushed Gareth Lawrence so hard, he was sent hurtling into a restaurant window, fracturing his shoulder and leaving him with lasting problems.
Now, Corneille has been jailed for two years.
VIDEO: Corneille caught on camera assaulting the traffic warden
Maidstone Crown Court heard the victim was about to issue the ticket in Sheerness High Street on January 6 when Corneille approached shouting: “Oi fat boy, what do you think you’re doing?”
Prosecutor Dominic Connolly said Corneille, who has previously been jailed for wounding with intent, protested despite being parked on double yellow lines.
He pushed Mr Lawrence forcefully into the window of an Indian restaurant.
Because the warden’s hands were up taking a photo of the car, he was unable to cushion his fall.
“He describes his attacker standing over him, shouting at him and preventing him from getting up,” said Mr Connolly. “His glasses came off and were damaged. He is nearly blind without them.
“He saw his attacker get into his illegally parked vehicle and drive off.”
The victim’s body worn camera captured some of the verbal aggression.
Corneille was shouting: “I will smack your ------- head in. Alright fat boy?” He put his hands around his neck and pushed his head down on the ground.
The 47-year-old roofer, of Estuary Road, Sheerness, drove off afterwards. When arrested, he made full admissions.
Mr Connolly said Mr Lawrence felt excruciating pain in his shoulder. He was taken to hospital and treated for the fracture. He was unable to drive, work or dress himself for six weeks.
He was unable to help his wife with their two young children or do domestic chores.
Corneille, who admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm, was jailed for six-and-a-half years in March 2010 for knifing a man in a revenge attack on behalf of a friend.
He had been drinking in Minster pubs before going to the home of victim Lee Edmunds.
He stabbed Mr Edmunds in the legs and arms and punctured his chest with a kitchen knife after telling him: “This is for Dean.”
Afterwards, he added: “If you grass me up I’ll come back and cut your throat.”
James Ross, defending, said Corneille wept when police showed him CCTV footage from shops of the violence.
Judge Martin Joy said despite Corneille’s genuine remorse and “incredible insight”, those serving the public had to be protected by the courts.
"This was a gratuitous, unprovoked attack on a traffic warden,” he said. “You attacked him from behind. It was a sustained attack, extremely forceful and undoubtedly aggressive.
"He was totally defenceless and when he was down you attacked him again and he was seriously injured.
"The letter you wrote does you credit, and it is a genuine expression of remorse. But you are a man on a short fuse, that is plain.”
The judge added: "The offence is so serious that a non-custodial sentence cannot be justified.
"Any public officer attacked in the way you did is entitled to look to the protection of the court, and those who do attack people such as traffic wardens can expect serious, significant and severe punishment."
"This was a gratuitous, unprovoked attack on a traffic warden" - Judge Martin Joy
James Ross, defending, said that while Corneille may have been “a bad lad”, since his release from prison he had set up his own business and was in a long-term relationship.
Shortly before the attack on Mr Lawrence, the couple became upset on seeing in a pub a man who had caused serious injury to her son in a driving incident.
Corneille's partner, who is bipolar, was particularly affected on seeing him, and it was while dealing with the upset that Corneille saw he was getting a parking fine.
Mr Ross said Corneille did not intend to cause such a serious injury, caused by Mr Lawrence falling awkwardly.
"The defendant was an upstanding man who was having an exceptionally bad day and bit off more than he could chew," he added.
In his letter to the court, Corneille apologised to the warden and said his behaviour was completely unacceptable.
He wrote: "I cannot say anything that will lessen the adverse effect my actions have had on you and your family.
"I cannot express enough how deeply ashamed I am of my actions. I will take the right steps to learn from this.
"I cannot express enough how terrible I feel. Sorry just doesn't do you any justice, but I truly am."
After the sentencing, PC Jez Chittim said: "This was an unprovoked attack on the victim who was doing his job and did not deserve to be injured for this.
"Corneille blamed the incident on ‘having a bad day’, but a lot of people have bad days and do not lose control and act in such a violent manner. I hope that this sentencing acts as a reminder to others to not behave in the same manner."
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