A DRIVING instructor from Portsmouth who ran a cyclist off the road leaving the victim with a broken arm before speeding off escaped being disqualified – but will lose his job, a court heard.
Distinguished former Royal Navy servant Stephen Holden, 54, flew into an inexplicable blind road rage while driving his car along Eastney Esplanade in Portsmouth with others inside in May.
The defendant, of previous good character, became irritated after seeing the cyclist using the road and not the cycle lane.
But despite the victim being allowed to use the road, Holden slowed down next the cyclist before shouting ‘use the cycle lane’, prosecutor Adrian Fleming told Portsmouth Crown Court.
Holden, further angered after the cyclist responded with ‘Highway Code’, then menacingly slowed down his car and moved parallel with the vulnerable cyclist.
‘He felt the vehicle swerve in his direction at 23mph causing him to fall off onto the road while the vehicle drove off,’ Mr Fleming said.
A pedestrian eyewitness said: ‘The driver moved closer and closer to the kerb giving the cyclist less room. The accident was entirely due to the driver.’
The prosecutor added: ‘Someone in his profession would have special training which makes it even more worrying he behaved like this. He also had a number of young people in the car at the time.’
After recorder Jane Rowley indicated she would give Holden nine penalty points on his licence, defence barrister Rob Harding attempted to persuade her to reduce this to six points - an amount where he could have continued as a driving instructor.
‘Anything above this amount will mean he won’t be able to carry on with his job of 11 years,’ Mr Harding pleaded.
But the recorder argued there was no evidence Holden, of Beasant Close, Milton, would lose his job. ‘For the life of me I don’t see how he will lose his job with nine points,’ she said.
But after intervention from probation it was confirmed that the driving agency’s regulations stated he would lose his licence.
Despite the glimmer of hope, though, recorder Rowley decided to stick with nine points. ‘What you did that day brought shame on you and your family. You are a man who has served for Her Majesty’s services for many years,’ she said.
She continued: ‘You made off knowing you had had an accident with the cyclist as you tried to escape in a knee-jerk flight reaction knowing the consequences.
‘I have to impose a fair and just sentence.’
Holden, who pleaded guilty to careless driving and failing to stop after an accident, was given 100 hours unpaid work, told to pay £800 compensation, a surcharge of £85 and nine points on his licence for the next three years.