An antiques dealer standing trial for dangerous driving and assault claims he suffered an attempted hijack from two men on a horse and cart after he was recognised for his work in a community speedwatch scheme, a court heard.

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Adam Raphael, 45, had called police on two previous occasions following run-ins with the Holden family when they had been abusive and driven erratically in front of him, after they first met as he patrolled with the speedwatch group he had set up in Gunthorpe, a trial was told yesterday.

Giving evidence at Norwich Crown Court, Raphael said farmer Martin Holden and his son Harry had jumped off the cart to attempt to break into his Nissan van as he overtook them in Briston, near Melton Constable, on June 6 last year.

Raphael, a charity volunteer who was in the village looking for a clothes donation bin he was shortly to take responsibility for, told the jury he drove away after his van was damaged but returned to collect the debris.

The prosecution alleges that Raphael cut in front of the horse and cart on which Harry Holden was travelling with his wife and father Martin Holden, before reversing towards the horse, causing it to bolt. He is accused of then driving at speed at Martin Holden, who tried to jump out of the way, injuring his hand.

Raphael, of Swanton Road, Gunthorpe, Melton Constable, denies dangerous driving and causing actual bodily harm to Martin Holden. He told the court he had heard shouting as he overtook the horse and cart at around 5.15pm, but “didn’t know if it was directed at me”.

As he passed, “both men jumped off, and I saw the older man get in front of the van. He was running towards the van. I didn’t see the other man, but he seemed to go towards the side of the van.

“I was driving slowly, and I heard a bump on the rear which I assumed was someone trying to get into the rear of the van.”

Raphael stopped the van and the man to the front approached, he said.

“He smashed the wing mirror: I don’t know if he thumped it, or if he used his arm or his hand. Then he tried to open my driver’s door.”

As Raphael drove off, it is alleged Martin Holden kicked the van, but Raphael noticed that the wing mirror had been broken and returned to retrieve the pieces.

Raphael said he took a metal stick from the cab of his van to protect himself and began banging it on the floor as “it was obvious violence was intended” by Martin Holden, before he picked up the wing mirror pieces and drove home.

Raphael also denied that he had broken the speed limit, attempted to run the cart off the road, or cut in suddenly and reversed in front of the horse. The trial continues.

mark.shields@archant.co.uk

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