COURT: Driver '˜hunted down' on busy motorway
A delivery driver was 'hunted down' and attacked by an irate motorist who stopped dead in the fast lane of a busy motorway, a court heard.
Marc Greenough’s manic behaviour, described as a “war of attrition”, on the A1(M) began when he under-took the Mercedes Sprinter van travelling in the fast lane of the southbound carriageway near Dishforth.
Greenough, 32, driving a Seat, pulled in front of the van “very close” to the front of the vehicle whereupon the delivery driver flashed his lights and sounded his horn, York Crown Court heard.
What followed next was a “breath-taking” piece of dangerous driving in which Greenough first drove at slow speeds along the fast lane, deliberately blocking the van for about half a mile as he aimed a two-fingered gesture at the driver, said prosecutor Michael Bosomworth.
Greenough finally pulled into the middle lane and the van was able to pass, but the Seat accelerated and under-took the vehicle a second time, pulling “sharply” in front of it in the fast lane.
He then slammed on his brakes, causing the van driver to brake sharply in turn. The victim tried to pull into the middle lane but couldn’t because of the heavy traffic, added Mr Bosomworth.
“Eventually the two vehicles were brought to a halt by (Greenough’s) actions and were stationary in Lane 3,” said the barrister.
Greenough’s car was straddling the outside and middle lanes as traffic whizzed past.
“The defendant got out of his vehicle, moved towards (the victim) who, perhaps foolishly, opened his door,” said Mr Bosomworth.
“The defendant then shouted something at him and aimed a series of punches at him, hitting him on the side of the head.”
The named van driver finally managed to shut his door and was reversing back in the fast lane when Greenough reappeared, this time with a camera phone.
“He appeared to be filming (the victim), claiming there had been a collision - although there was no evidence of that - and claiming that it was (the victim’s) fault,” said Mr Bosomworth.
Greenough got back in his car and the two vehicles moved off, but again the Seat appeared by the side of the van. The driver steered his vehicle over to the inside lane, but Greenough pulled across him again, forcing the van onto the hard shoulder.
“The vehicles ended up parked up a few feet apart,” said Mr Bosomworth. “The defendant got out, went to the boot and took out a spirit level. He proceeded to attack the windscreen of (the victim’s) vehicle, hitting it repeatedly.”
As he rained blows down on the windscreen, Greenough shouted: “If you get out of the van, this (spirit level) is going round your head!”
The blows left a hole in the windscreen and nearly Â£200 of damage. Greenough got back in his car again and the van driver pulled away. The victim was about to come off the motorway at Junction 49 when the Seat pulled in front of him again and reversed back towards him.
The delivery man managed to steer around the Seat and finally got away. He called police, but before Greenough could be arrested he went to a local police station and reported the incident himself “to give his side of the story”.
Greenough, of Loop Lane, Durham, finally appeared for sentence on Friday after admitting dangerous driving, criminal damage and assaulting the van driver during the incident at about 3pm on April 5. The court heard he had a raft of previous convictions mainly for motoring offences including dangerous driving.
Defence barrister Robin Denny said there was a “great deal of good in (Greenough)” who had worked as a carer for the terminally-ill but had to quit the profession due to his driving disqualifications.
Judge Paul Batty QC said Greenough had “effectively hunted down this man in your vehicle”, adding: “The offence is about as bad a case of road rage as I have encountered.”
He added: “The level here of dangerous driving and the risk you posed to others on the motorway, on a busy Wednesday afternoon, was enormous.
“Someone could so easily have lost their lives, not only (the victim) who you had it in for, but others who just happened to be caught up in your private war of attrition that was conducted in a very public and dangerous way.”
Greenough was jailed for nine months and given a 30-month driving ban.