Ottery road rage driver leaves pensioner with broken hip, court hears

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court

Exeter Crown Court. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exeter crown court - Credit: Archant

A road rage driver attacked an 82-year-old anti-speeding campaigner and left him with a broken hip, helpless and in agony on the ground.

Ottery delivery driver Peter Hutchings got out of his white van and pushed retired builder Thomas Preston to the ground after he flagged him down to complain he was going too fast on a village road, a court heard.

When the pensioner threatened to report him to the police, Hutchings decided to flee the scene in his vehicle, leaving his victim alone on the ground, unable to get up.

The court heard that Mr Preston was left in agony for ten minutes until a neighbour discovered him, in Riverfront, Exton. He needed a hip replacement, spent two weeks in hospital and has been forced to give up his hobbies of walking and cycling.

Despite his injuries, he wrote a victim impact statement asking that Hutchings should not go to jail because of the effect on his family.

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The 60-year-old, of Patteson Drive, Ottery St Mary, denied causing grievous bodily harm but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court earlier this month.

He was sentenced to nine months, suspended for two years, ordered to do 125 hours unpaid community work, and pay £500 compensation and £750 costs by Judge Graham Cottle.

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He told him: “You pushed him over and it must have been quite obvious he was in considerable pain. You got back in and drove off, leaving a man lying in the road in considerable pain. It was ten minutes until someone found him there.

“Those are a very bad set of facts, very bad indeed. What tips the balance in favour of suspending the sentence is Mr Preston’s victim statement. He has expressed himself in very compassionate language. It is surprising to see a statement which is as compassionate.”

Mr Paul Grumbar, defending, said Hutchings had two children and one stepchild and ran a delivery business from home with his wife.

He said: “He did not realise Mr Preston was seriously injured. He had a momentary loss of control which was completely out of character and did an act which had serious consequences.”

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