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Home   Weald   News   Article

Marden driver Martin Hook fed up with cyclists riding two abreast jailed over crash in Horsmonden

20 April 2014
by Keith Hunt
Frustrated by a group of cyclists riding two abreast on a road, a motorist drove too close to them and caused a crash.
 
One of the cyclists - a police officer - suffered a broken collarbone and the other a fractured bone in his hand.
 
Now driver Martin Hook has been jailed for 10 months after a judge told him: "In my judgement, there is no true remorse here and no real insight, so you are, and remain, a danger to cyclists."
A driver saw red when cyclists were riding two abreast in Horsmonden. File picture

A driver saw red when cyclists were riding two abreast in Horsmonden. File picture

The 58-year-old motorcycle firm boss, of Spenny Lane, Marden, admitted two offences of causing injury by dangerous driving.
 
He was disqualified for three years and will have to take an extended test before his licence is returned.
 
Maidstone Crown Court was told the cyclists had taken part in a race on September 29 last year and were returning to Brenchley in Maidstone Road, Horsmonden, in the early afternoon.
 
Prosecutor James Ross said Hook was taking his two daughters - six and nine - swimming in Tenterden.
 
"He was frustrated by what he saw as cyclists not paying much regard to other road users. They were straddled along the road..." - Ian Henderson, defending
"The defendant approached the first group of cyclists and became frustrated and irate about them," he said. "He was irate about them cycling two abreast, rather than single file.
 
"As he came alongside them, he sounded his horn and drove very close to the two outside cycles, not giving sufficient room. He was a couple of inches away from one.
 
"The defendant got in front of them and was waving his arms in anger and shouting. He carried on until he came across the second group of cyclists.
 
"They included Daren Squirrell and Lee Staples. Again, Mr Hook repeated his actions to drive close. He drove close to Mr Staples and knocked his bike, causing him to crash into Mr Squirrell."
 
Hook carried on driving before seeing what had happened in his rear view mirror and returning to a hostile reception.
 
He was heard to say: "I was forcing them into single file. I am fed up with cyclists."
 
The two victims were treated in hospital. Mr Squirrell needed surgery to insert a plate and seven screws into his collarbone.
 
Mr Squirrell had indicated in a blog that he was back on his cycle within three months, but he was then injured in another collision.
Judge Charles Macdonald QC at Maidstone Crown Court

Judge Charles Macdonald QC at Maidstone Crown Court

Judge Charles Macdonald QC told Hook, who has a previous conviction in 1998 for drink-driving: "You are an honest, hard-working family man. There will be hardship as a result of the sentence for your family as a result of your driving.
 
"There will be no exceptional hardship. It was a relatively short-lived incident. There are a number of aggravating features. 
 
"There is significant impact on Daren Squirrell. I am satisfied the cyclists were deliberately endangered."
 
Ian Henderson, defending, said Hook had run a motorcycle shop for 30 years and his wife had a small chocolate business. His shop had been hit by the recession and he was working six days a week.
 
"He was in a very stressed environment," said Mr Henderson. "They were going swimming. Mr Hook is a fisherman and his two girls thought they were going to spend a dull day watching him. They made their feelings known.
 
"In that stressed environment he found himself in contact with the cyclists. He was frustrated by what he saw as cyclists not paying much regard to other road users. They were straddled along the road.
 
"He accepts he pointed and remonstrated with the first group. He didn't intend any collision. He doesn't recall there being contact. He accepts there must have been some."
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Mr Henderson said if sent to prison Hook would have to close his business and his employee of 16 years would lose his job.
 
"He is a hard working family man and these offences are utterly out of character," he added.

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