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Driver who pursued teenage cyclist and rammed him off bike avoids jail

Phoebe Groves lost her temper when the cyclist's friend accidentally clipped her wing mirror before she smashed her Vauxhall Astra into the 16-year-old's bike, causing him facial injuries...

A driver — enraged by a teenager accidentally clipping her wing mirror pursued a 16-year-old cyclist and smashed her vehicle into the boy's bike, knocking him to the ground with facial injuries — has walked away from court with a suspended sentence.

Phoebe Groves pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and dangerous driving, and was told by the judge at Teesside Crown Court that it is "highly unusual" for a driver to avoid immediate jail time in such circumstances, but was handed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years and a 12-month driving ban, as well as 150 hours of unpaid work and 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

The Northern Echo reports judge Timothy Stead was shown CCTV footage of Groves, 22, ramming her Vauxhall Astra into the 16-year-old as he pulled up outside his house on Fabian Road, Middlesbrough, at just after 8pm on 7 August 2021.

The impact threw the teenager into the air before he landed on the footpath, suffering grazing to his face and swelling around both eyes, and came after Groves had pursued the cyclist, angered by a friend of his who had accidentally clipped her vehicle's wing mirror moments earlier.

At sentencing, prosecutor Jon Harley told the judge the boy had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of Groves' assault, while in her victim impact statement the boy's mother said he "is not the same person anymore" and never leaves the house and barely takes care of himself.

Describing the attack, Mr Harley said the boy "was hit from behind by the vehicle driven by the defendant. He was thrown from his bike and he hit the pavement before the car drove off."

In mitigation, Rod Hunt suggested his client was "not at the time, in her right mind" and argued Groves had suffered a "brainstorm" when she became enraged by the contact with her wing mirror. He also stressed that Groves had returned to the scene after initially driving off.

"You have heard me say that people who come before this court for using a vehicle as a weapon deliberately and cause injury, almost always will go immediately to prison," judge Stead told her.

"I know that you know that what you did was very wrong, I believe that you are deeply sorry for it.

"Your case is exceptional.

"If you do breach the order within the next two years, and I don't believe that you will, then the court will start with the suspended sentence and then will include anything else."

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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