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Driver who deliberately knocked cyclist from bike jailed for 16 months (+ video)

Ashley Merrett was sentenced today following incident caught on camera in Colchester in May 2016

A driver who deliberately knocked a cyclist from his bike in Colchester last year has been jailed for 16 months.

Ashley Merrett, aged 30 and from West Bergholt, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court last December to actual bodily harm, dangerous driving and common assault in connection with the incident in May 2016.

> Video: Driver guilty of charges including common assault after knocking cyclist off bike

Footage released by Essex Police following his trial showed the cyclist riding with a friend on North Station Road when Merrett braked suddenly.

The rider made a gesture in protest, whereupon Merrett, who was driving a Ford Mondeo, swerved into him.

The cyclist was knocked from his bike and sustained minor injuries.

His riding companion tried to flag down Merrett and he too was targeted by the driver, although he managed to avoid being hit.

Merrett drove off but was arrested by police later the same day.

He was sentenced today, reports the Daily Gazette, and besides the custodial sentence was also banned by Judge Rupert Overbury from driving for two years and eight months.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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26 comments

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PhilRuss | 5 years ago
0 likes

[[[[[[ Not much more than a slapped wrist,  for wielding his lethal weapon-on-wheels "WITH due care and attention" (sic).....but I assume his accident-insurance will skyrocket when he comes out of nick, after serving about half his sentence?

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wcoastbo | 6 years ago
0 likes

I'm pleased that Mr. Merret was even prosecuted. The police in many municipalities here in the US would not go as far as an investigation, even with video evidence. If there are only minor injuries sustain, then the police take a "no harm, no foul" approach, and will wait until another victim is seriously injured or killed by the same driver. 

A sentence of 18 months in prison, plus loss driving privileges for 2 years 8 months is a harsh penalty relative to what he would have served where I live. Cyclists are second class citizens where I live. You're far ahead of  us in the UK when it comes to legal remedies for cycling victims.

Avatar
PhilRuss | 6 years ago
1 like

[[[[[[[  The driver pleads guilty to "dangerous driving".....when in fact he has not "driven" his car in any way we would understand the term "driving a car".  He has instead turned that vehicle into a deadly weapon, and one wonders if he has actually received the maximum sentence available in a court of law.  Does anyone have the answer to that? 

Avatar
RobD | 6 years ago
4 likes

I agree the sentence is too lenient, but the worst part is that he hasn't been given a lifetime (or at least 10 year) driving ban. Surely he's proved he's not capable of keeping a level head while driving if a slight hand gesture from a cyclist is enough to make him run someone down.

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sm | 6 years ago
3 likes

Disgraceful behaviour and sentence. Should be banned from driving for life.

Would the sentence have been the same if he had deliberately mounted the curb to take down a pedestrian.

Thank you to the dashboard camera behind otherwise the driver would have gotten away with it. Oh wait, he did anyway.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
6 likes

Sickening, both in the action and the charging/sentencing.

So someone who makes efforts to avoid a collision, warns, slows their (already slow) speed to that of a jog and swerves away gets lambasted nationally and 18months because the other party unfortunately died and was even partly at fault.
Against 16months for someone with a lethal weapon deliberately and with malicious intent seriously harms another but fortunately and by luck not design, does not kill them.

Right there is how fucked up our so called justice system is!

Where is the outrage, where is the headlines of hate, if someone uses a knife or a sledgehammer to attack you intent on causung you serious harm you don't get a tickle of 16 months and this cunt will be out in 8.
What, another moments inattention or madness as one wanker wrote in the local rag.

Avatar
brooksby replied to BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
1 like
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Sickening, both in the action and the charging/sentencing. So someone who makes efforts to avoid a collision, warns, slows their (already slow) speed to that of a jog and swerves away gets lambasted nationally and 18months because the other party unfortunately died and was even partly at fault. Against 16months for someone with a lethal weapon deliberately and with malicious intent seriously harms another but fortunately and by luck not design, does not kill them. Right there is how fucked up our so called justice system is! Where is the outrage, where is the headlines of hate, if someone uses a knife or a sledgehammer to attack you intent on causung you serious harm you don't get a tickle of 16 months and this cunt will be out in 8. What, another moments inattention or madness as one wanker wrote in the local rag.

I don't disagree with you, but I think we need to come up with a new word to describe shoehorning the Alliston case into a thread  

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john1967 | 6 years ago
2 likes

Fucking hell   i am totally gob smacked. If that wasnt attemted murder i dont know what is, Its a fucking war zone out there.look after your selfs folks.

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Richard D | 6 years ago
20 likes

It seems like as cyclists we are regarded as having been "asking for it".  Better I think to go out wearing a short skirt; judges have had enough training on that issue at least.

FWIW, the only times (and it's times, plural) where I saw attempted murder charged when a car was driven at someone, the victim was always a police officer.

lord knows what the CPS would do if someone deliberately drove a car at a police officer who was riding a bike.  Enter an unresolvable quantum state of uncertainty, I suspect.

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rowes | 6 years ago
4 likes

Was going to mention about 24 hours in Police Custody too and the fact the guy got 7 years for GBH with intent. I cannot see how this is any different? What need to happen to change the Police's and CPS approaches and actually treat cyclists as humans?

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Fifth Gear replied to rowes | 6 years ago
6 likes
rowes wrote:

Was going to mention about 24 hours in Police Custody too and the fact the guy got 7 years for GBH with intent. I cannot see how this is any different? What need to happen to change the Police's and CPS approaches and actually treat cyclists as humans?

 

In the 24 hours case the driver had been beaten up just previously by the group at which he aimed his car while in this case the cyclists were entirely without blame and yet are held in less regard.

Avatar
djfleming22 | 6 years ago
6 likes

 Watched 24 hrs in Police Custody the other night

Guy takes car and drives into a group of people who he had been fighting with, he badly injured one person the judge gave him 7 years for GBH with intent the police were trying to get him done for attempted murder the the CPS said no GBH, i cannot for the life of me see the difference between both crimes.

Except the Law is a complete ass.

Avatar
TerreyHill replied to djfleming22 | 6 years ago
2 likes
djfleming22 wrote:

 Watched 24 hrs in Police Custody the other night

Guy takes car and drives into a group of people who he had been fighting with, he badly injured one person the judge gave him 7 years for GBH with intent the police were trying to get him done for attempted murder the the CPS said no GBH, i cannot for the life of me see the difference between both crimes.

Except the Law is a complete ass.

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences.

For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... replied to TerreyHill | 6 years ago
0 likes
TerreyHill wrote:
djfleming22 wrote:

 Watched 24 hrs in Police Custody the other night

Guy takes car and drives into a group of people who he had been fighting with, he badly injured one person the judge gave him 7 years for GBH with intent the police were trying to get him done for attempted murder the the CPS said no GBH, i cannot for the life of me see the difference between both crimes.

Except the Law is a complete ass.

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

 

I thought the question was not about GBH vs attempted murder, as to why the driver in that "24 hours" case got a much longer sentence than the one in the story above?  7 years vs 16 months (and from the sound of it there was way more 'provocation' in the 7 years case than in the cyclist one.  Is it purely down to the concequences in terms of what injuries the person hit suffered?

Avatar
TerreyHill replied to FluffyKittenofTindalos | 6 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:
djfleming22 wrote:

 Watched 24 hrs in Police Custody the other night

Guy takes car and drives into a group of people who he had been fighting with, he badly injured one person the judge gave him 7 years for GBH with intent the police were trying to get him done for attempted murder the the CPS said no GBH, i cannot for the life of me see the difference between both crimes.

Except the Law is a complete ass.

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

 

I thought the question was not about GBH vs attempted murder, as to why the driver in that "24 hours" case got a much longer sentence than the one in the story above?  7 years vs 16 months (and from the sound of it there was way more 'provocation' in the 7 years case than in the cyclist one.  Is it purely down to the concequences in terms of what injuries the person hit suffered?

My post assumed djfleming22 couldn't see the difference between GBH with intent and attempted murder.

Avatar
NeilXDavis replied to TerreyHill | 6 years ago
0 likes
TerreyHill wrote:
djfleming22 wrote:

 Watched 24 hrs in Police Custody the other night

Guy takes car and drives into a group of people who he had been fighting with, he badly injured one person the judge gave him 7 years for GBH with intent the police were trying to get him done for attempted murder the the CPS said no GBH, i cannot for the life of me see the difference between both crimes.

Except the Law is a complete ass.

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

I dont think thats what hes saying - hes saying why did the guy on 24hrs get 7 years and this case not the same - what is the difference between the two crimes?.  I watched the 24hrs and the crime is identical.  It makes no sence at all.

 

 

Avatar
burtthebike replied to TerreyHill | 6 years ago
4 likes
TerreyHill wrote:

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

With your experience and knowledge, you are undoubtedly right.  However, I would assume that someone driving a motor vehicle at me intended to kill me, given that 1700 people a year are killed by motor vehicles, and I don't see how the driver could claim that his intent was only to wound.  If you drive a car at someone, there is a high likelihood that they will be killed, and there is no way you could guarantee that they would only be injured.

I realise that the law is arcane and not necessarily common sense or understanding, but I would argue that driving a car at someone is attempted murder.  He would almost certainly have been charged with that if the victim was a policeman.

Avatar
Bluebug replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

With your experience and knowledge, you are undoubtedly right.  However, I would assume that someone driving a motor vehicle at me intended to kill me, given that 1700 people a year are killed by motor vehicles, and I don't see how the driver could claim that his intent was only to wound.  If you drive a car at someone, there is a high likelihood that they will be killed, and there is no way you could guarantee that they would only be injured.

I realise that the law is arcane and not necessarily common sense or understanding, but I would argue that driving a car at someone is attempted murder.  He would almost certainly have been charged with that if the victim was a policeman.

The guy on 24 hours was as thick as pigs poo. When psychologists explain that kids and young adults don't understand consequences, he was an example of that.

And yes if you go after an officer of the law you will get the book thrown at you, because however badly you behave you are never suppose to go after people whose job is to up hold the law.

Avatar
Bluebug replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

With your experience and knowledge, you are undoubtedly right.  However, I would assume that someone driving a motor vehicle at me intended to kill me, given that 1700 people a year are killed by motor vehicles, and I don't see how the driver could claim that his intent was only to wound.  If you drive a car at someone, there is a high likelihood that they will be killed, and there is no way you could guarantee that they would only be injured.

I realise that the law is arcane and not necessarily common sense or understanding, but I would argue that driving a car at someone is attempted murder.  He would almost certainly have been charged with that if the victim was a policeman.

The guy on 24 hours was as thick as pigs poo. When psychologists explain that kids and young adults don't understand consequences, he was an example of that.

And yes if you go after an officer of the law you will get the book thrown at you, because however badly you behave you are never suppose to go after people whose job is to up hold the law.

Avatar
Bluebug replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

With your experience and knowledge, you are undoubtedly right.  However, I would assume that someone driving a motor vehicle at me intended to kill me, given that 1700 people a year are killed by motor vehicles, and I don't see how the driver could claim that his intent was only to wound.  If you drive a car at someone, there is a high likelihood that they will be killed, and there is no way you could guarantee that they would only be injured.

I realise that the law is arcane and not necessarily common sense or understanding, but I would argue that driving a car at someone is attempted murder.  He would almost certainly have been charged with that if the victim was a policeman.

The guy on 24 hours was as thick as pigs poo. When psychologists explain that kids and young adults don't understand consequences, he was an example of that.

And yes if you go after an officer of the law you will get the book thrown at you, because however badly you behave you are never suppose to go after people whose job is to up hold the law.

Avatar
Grahamd replied to Bluebug | 6 years ago
0 likes
Bluebug wrote:
burtthebike wrote:
TerreyHill wrote:

As a criminal lawyer, I've writen about this before on this forum.

The intent to be proved is different for both offences. For a section 18 cause grievous bodily harm offence, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to 'do some grievous bodily harm' to his or her victim.

For an attempted murder charge, the prosecution is required to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused intended to kill. That's a higher standard of intent to prove than even for a murder charge, where the prosecution only have to prove an intention to cause grievous bodily (it's the accused's bad luck if his or her victim died because of the grievous bodily harm inflicted).

That's why attempted murder isn't charged that often as it's so notoriously difficult to convince juries of an intention to kill, as opposed to an intention to do some grievous bodily harm.

With your experience and knowledge, you are undoubtedly right.  However, I would assume that someone driving a motor vehicle at me intended to kill me, given that 1700 people a year are killed by motor vehicles, and I don't see how the driver could claim that his intent was only to wound.  If you drive a car at someone, there is a high likelihood that they will be killed, and there is no way you could guarantee that they would only be injured.

I realise that the law is arcane and not necessarily common sense or understanding, but I would argue that driving a car at someone is attempted murder.  He would almost certainly have been charged with that if the victim was a policeman.

The guy on 24 hours was as thick as pigs poo. When psychologists explain that kids and young adults don't understand consequences, he was an example of that. And yes if you go after an officer of the law you will get the book thrown at you, because however badly you behave you are never suppose to go after people whose job is to up hold the law.

Wonder how much he had to pay someone to pass his theory test?

Avatar
alansmurphy | 6 years ago
6 likes

What is a standard ABH sentence?

Onto the point of intention, what do we suppose his intention was, tickling?

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 6 years ago
18 likes

Should be a lifetime driving ban.

Avatar
burtthebike | 6 years ago
16 likes

Entirely deserved, and there is an argument that the punishment should have been much higher for what could be said to be attempted murder.

Like the Bristol Post, the comments in the Gazettte are not for those of a nervous disposition.

Avatar
mike the bike replied to burtthebike | 6 years ago
2 likes
burtthebike wrote:

...... for what could be said to be attempted murder...... 

There is, I'm afraid, very little chance of proving to a jury that the driver's intention was actually to kill.

 

 

Avatar
Gkam84 replied to mike the bike | 6 years ago
2 likes
mike the bike wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

...... for what could be said to be attempted murder...... 

There is, I'm afraid, very little chance of proving to a jury that the driver's intention was actually to kill.

 

 

 

Just have to watch 24hrs in custody that was on Ch4 last night. Guy got beaten up outside a pub by a gang, went to his car, drove up to them (on the other side of the railings) gave them a mouthful, got a mouthful back, so reversed down the street, mounted the pavement and drove straight at them, missed the gang and got an innocent bystander. CPS refused attempted murder and charged him with GBH

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