Angry motorist faces punishment order

A HOT-headed motorist who was involved in a stand-off over who had right of way in a narrow street has been told by magistrates he will face a community sentence in the New Year.

A HOT-headed motorist who was involved in a stand-off over who had right of way in a narrow street has been told by magistrates he will face a community sentence in the New Year.

When Paul Nicholls drove down Ipswich's Vaughan Street and was faced with an oncoming car and no room to pass he blocked the road and refused to move.

Nicholls, of Pauline Street, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to causing harassment, alarm or distress after a policeman witnessed him making comments that he would kill the other driver if he saw him again.

During a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Thursday , the court heard that Nicholls had been driving through Ipswich on December 15 when he turned on to Vaughan Street and was faced with the oncoming car.

When both motorists refused to back down and let the other pass the police were called and the stand-off only resolved when the officer told Nicholls to reverse into Wherstead Road.

The officer noticed the 53-year-old had become agitated and was repeatedly pounding his clenched fist into his palm.

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He also saw that Nicholls' wife appeared to be slumped inside the car and became concerned for her welfare.

Nicholls insisted his wife, who uses a wheelchair and suffers seizures, was OK but the officer followed the couple to their Pauline Street home to make sure. When he arrived, Nicholls became annoyed about the stand-off in the road, repeatedly swore and made threatening remarks about the other driver.

As a woman and her two-year-old child sat nearby, he was heard to say: “I tell you what, if ever I see that driver again I will kill him. I've had enough of this…If he comes around here I'll kill him.”

Roger Stewart, mitigating, told the magistrates that Nicholls is “very short fused” but that is partially caused by the pressure of having to care for his wife and his elderly mother.

He said: “Unfortunately it is a narrow street and there was only room for a vehicle going one way. At that stage one of the vehicles had to give way.

“His wife was having a seizure at that time. Mrs Nicholls was in fact actually over the gear stick. She had slumped, which was causing him difficulty in getting the car into reverse.

“Clearly my client was frustrated at the situation and indeed he was banging one hand into the other in frustration.”

And he added that Nicholls admitted he had made unacceptable remarks.

Mr Stewart said: “Quite clearly it was inappropriate for him to have done so in the circumstances.”

Magistrate Brian Morden deferred sentencing until a pre-sentence report was prepared so that sentencing options could be investigated.

He said: “We recognise that there are pressures on you and you take the pressure out on others.

“Maybe we should seek to deal with the causes rather than the offence. We're looking at a low-level community sentence.”

Nicholls will return to court for sentencing on January 24.

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