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Cyclist attacked with a crutch by angry car passenger, defending lawyer claims “bravado”

John Walker, who used his crutches to assault the victim in Newcastle, has been sentenced to a 12-month community order

A car passenger who confronted and attacked a cyclist with a crutch, after taking issue with the way the bike rider passed the vehicle he was travelling in, has received a comunity order and been ordered to pay significant costs for the assault.

John Walker objected to the way the cyclist rode as he was getting out of the vehicle, Chronicle Live reports. Walker told the court that he believed he had been insulted, and chased and confronted the cyclist as he was stopping to go into a shop.

The 53-year-old man then proceeded to take several swings with one of his crutches, leaving onlookers, which included a young child, shocked. Walker, of Walker, Newcastle, has been found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and has now been given a community order.

During the hearing, defending lawyer Tony Cornberg claimed there was an element of ‘bravado’ in the attack and added that Walker, who has past convictions, is “not a danger to the public”.

The CCTV footage shows Walker with the crutch in both hands, swinging them one at a time and taking aim at the victim's head. At least one blow made contact with his head and left a cut behind the ear which he had to have glued at hospital, leaving a mark on the victim’s hairline.

Sentencing him, judge Julie Clemitson said, “The complainant was cycling past your vehicle. There was a very wide pavement and it looks as if it's meant to facilitate cyclists at the outer edge.

“You took objection at the way he passed you. Whatever the rights and wrongs, your perception was you had been slighted in some way and you became enraged.

“You were clearly irate and confrontational to the point he pushed you away because you were so close to him,” continued the judge.

“Your behaviour was such that those around and about were clear you were the aggressor. Others intervened and you left the scene and were driven away. There were other people in and out of the supermarket, including one young child who was very close to what was going on.”

The incident took place on 5 December 2019, when the driver pulled over on Chillingham Road, Heaton, and Walker, who is still on crutches, was getting out. The court also noted that Walker has previous convictions but nothing since 2000.

The jury found him guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and sentenced him to a 12-month community order with rehabilitation. He must pay £200 compensation and £1,000 costs.

Adwitiya joined in 2023 after finishing his masters in Journalism from Cardiff University, with a dissertation focusing on active travel. He's currently living in Cardiff and for the most part moans about the abruptly ending cycle lanes, if he's not cursing the headwind. Adwitiya also covers local and national politics for Voice Wales, and sometimes dabbles in topics related to science, tech and the environment. Cycling became a part of his life just a couple of years ago, and now he can't think of a single reason why anyone would drive if they could cycle. He usually uses his bike for commuting, but he also loves excursions on the Taff trail, however never underestimate his ability to find an excuse to watch something on GCN instead.

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