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Clamper turned on driver in parking row

PUBLISHED: 13:16 01 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

A WHEELCLAMPER and a motorist had a punch up after a wheel clamping on a private car park turned nasty.

Michael John Vincent, 31, currently in custody, admitted common assault after a bust-up in a 12-space car park on St Helen's Street, Ipswich, on Monday March 24.

A WHEELCLAMPER and a motorist had a punch up after a wheel clamping on a private car park turned nasty.

Michael John Vincent, 31, currently in custody, admitted common assault after a bust-up in a 12-space car park on St Helen's Street, Ipswich, on Monday March 24.

Victim Wayne Miller parked his car on the back of 18 St Helens Street to go to a recruitment agency firm and returned to find Vincent clamping his vehicle.

Miller asked for a receipt for the £50 and Vincent became aggressive and "barged into him" and a fight broke out.

"A struggle ensued with both men fighting on the ground," said Stephen Coleman, prosecuting.

At one point during the melee Vincent ran to the boot of his car and pulled out an eight-inch knife with a wooden handle.

"He raised it as if he was going to stab Miller," Mr Coleman told South East Suffolk Magistrates. Miller's girlfriend, who was also present, ran to get help. It was alleged Vincent said: "I am going to rape your girlfriend," which he has denied saying.

Vincent threw the knife into the boot of the car, still shouting and punched Miller. He then drove out of the car park, before returning and was arrested. In interview he said he was acting in self-defence and the "knife" was part of a wheel clamp.

Miller received bruising to his neck and a scrape to his thigh.

Nicky Edgar, defending, told magistrates the knife was a flat metal implement which forms part of a wheel clamping device adding: "In the melee it was possible that it was perceived to be part of a knife."

Vincent was verbally abusive, she said, but denied making threats or threatening to rape Miller's girlfriend. "He (Vincent) accepts by and large he was the instigator of the physical side of the incident."

The court heard Vincent had been a wheelclamper for four to five years – employed by the car park owner – and was continually subject to abuse.

In the run up to the incident the court heard Miller was rude and aggressive made it clear he was not going to pay.

"He (Vincent) did throw the first punch having been pushed to the ground," said Ms Edgar. He drove off but deliberately returned when he heard the police sirens.

Bench chairwoman Pamela Blatchly jailed Vincent, who is formerly of Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, for five months saying: "This offence is so serious only custody is justified."

"The reasons," she told him. "is that it was a serious assault causing injuries, you were in authority at the time, you were in possession of something which would be regarded as a weapon."

N What do you think of this case? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


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