Prison for Norfolk man who attacked a cyclist

Chris Brown, 61, who was the victim in an incident during a cycle event last year. 
Photo by Simon Finlay. Chris Brown, 61, who was the victim in an incident during a cycle event last year. Photo by Simon Finlay.

David Bale david.bale2@archant.co.uk
Friday, June 27, 2014
10:18 AM

A man has spoken of how his life was devastated after he was shoulder-charged off his bike and broke his hip as he took part in a cycling event in north Norfolk.

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Chris Brown, 61, was competing with hundreds of others in the Audax long- distance cycling event in Lamas, near Aylsham, when he was randomly attacked by Duncan Smith, 52.

Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday that Smith, who was jailed for 10 months, had a grievance against cyclists after his vehicle’s wing mirror was damaged a few weeks before. The damage cost £460 to repair, but police were unable to take the case further because Smith did not have the cyclist’s name.

The court heard that at lunchtime on December 7 last year, Smith was driving his car in Buxton when he claimed another cyclist damaged his wing mirror. He was still brooding over the incident when he got back to his home in The Street, Lamas, where cyclists were taking part in the event.

Walking outside into the road, he tried to stop cyclists to find out what club they belonged to, so he could complain. The court heard Smith had not deliberately tried to push Mr Brown off his bike, but had been reckless as to the consequences.

Mr Brown spent two days in hospital, had an operation on his hip, and was on crutches for three months. He also had to take time off work.

At the time of the incident he was a very fit man who could cycle 100 miles a day. But his cycling is now restricted, he has trouble sleeping, and there is a risk the hip fracture might not unite.

Smith appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to causing grievous bodily harm.

Judge Stephen Holt told Smith his actions had devastated Mr Brown’s life. He added: “A clear message must go out that behaviour of this type on a public highway that results in serious injury to an innocent person must lead to immediate custody.”

Michael Clare, for Smith, a father of two, said he had written a letter of apology to Mr Brown. He added: “He is genuinely remorseful. He told me he was not an unreasonable person but had obviously got it wrong this time.”

After sentencing, Mr Brown, from Burgh next Aylsham, who belongs to the North Norfolk Wheelers cycling club, said he was still coming to terms with the “randomness of the attack”.

He said: “He had been dancing in the middle of the road, acting really strangely, with cyclists going either side of him. As I went to go by him he just shoulder-charged me.”

Do you think cyclists and motorists are at odds with each other on our roads? Email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk, including your full contact details.

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