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Motorist jailed for chasing down cyclist in car in King's Lynn

PUBLISHED: 08:51 28 October 2015 | UPDATED: 08:51 28 October 2015

Crest on the wall ourtside King's Lynn magistrates / crown court

Crest on the wall ourtside King's Lynn magistrates / crown court

Archant

A motorist has been jailed for eight months for chasing down a teenage cyclist in his car, and then leaving him lying on the ground unconscious.

Egged on by his front seat passenger, Johnny Cunningham, 29, pursued the cyclist and his car clipped his back wheel, sending him hurtling over the handlebars into a fence, a court heard.

Prosecuting, Jude Durr said the 16-year-old victim was unconscious before he later came round at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, although he did not suffer any long-term injuries.

Cunningham earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, and appeared for sentencing at King’s Lynn crown court yesterday.

The court heard Cunningham was driving a Vauxhall Astra in St Edmundsbury Road, Lynn at about 1.30pm on June 2.

There was an atmosphere of considerable ill-feeling in the area, and the cyclist had been challenged by a woman carrying a metal bar.

Other residents had also gathered with weapons and the cyclist left with his friends, all on bikes, and picked up a baseball bat.

The cyclist said afterwards that, “everybody along St Edmundsbury Road was wound up. I knew they were coming after me”.

He turned into Lawrence Road and heard a silver Vauxhall Astra approaching with a man with ginger hair sitting in the front passenger seat.

Mr Durr said the car pursued the cyclist for about 100 metres into Estuary Close.

The cyclist said afterwards in interview: “I knew they were after me. I was really scared. I had no idea what they were going to do to me. I cannot remember anything else, before waking up in hospital.”

Cunningham handed himself into King’s Lynn police station later that afternoon.

He said in interview that it was an accident, he had not targeted the cyclist, and he never intended to hurt anyone.

William Carter, for Cunningham, said the father of two, whose partner was in court, did not have the strength of character to refuse his front seat passenger, who had a beef with the cyclist, when he suggested chasing him down.

Mr Carter said: “It was most likely immaturity on his part, a lack of huge intelligence, that he did what he did.”

Cunningham left the scene in his car after the incident because the boys’ cyclist friends had caught up with them, and were threatening trouble, he said.

“When he got home he was physically sick,” Mr Carter added.

Cunningham, from Hillen Road, King’s Lynn, who was originally arrested for attempted murder, was also banned from driving for 12 months.

No costs were ordered, but he must pay a £100 victim surcharge and £900 court charge, and his licence was endorsed.

In sentencing him, Mr Recorder Seely told Cunningham: “This was a residential street in the afternoon. Such behaviour in any street is completely unacceptable.”

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