Road-rage driver branded a ""loony"" by judge

PUBLISHED: 15:37 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 21:45 31 May 2010

A MOTORIST from Saffron Walden, who threatened another driver with a steering lock after following him home, has been given a suspended jail sentence. Gavin Emery, 26, of Tukes Way, was told by a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court that he had behaved like a

A MOTORIST from Saffron Walden, who threatened another driver with a steering lock after following him home, has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Gavin Emery, 26, of Tukes Way, was told by a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court that he had behaved like a "loony".

Recorder David Holborn imposed a 12 month supervision order on Mr Emery and ordered him to carry out 200 hours unpaid work in the community and pay his victim £200 compensation. He must also pay £200 in legal costs.

The court was told that Emery had used the steering lock to bang on the car window of the other driver, Brendan Melhuish, 22, who sat terrified inside his vehicle.

Recorder Holborn told Emery, who he described as an otherwise perfectly respectable, honest, hardworking man, that he had behaved "like a complete loony".

Emery pleaded guilty at a magistrates' court to possessing an offensive weapon and to a public order offence on October 30 in Thorncroft, Saffron Walden, and had been sent to the Crown Court for sentence on Friday.

Mark Lakin, prosecuting, said Mr Melhuish was passing parked cars in a narrow section of Ashdon Road. Mr Emery, approaching from the opposite direction, screeched to a halt and then turned round and pursued him.

Outside Mr Melhuish's home Emery approached with the steering lock. Mr Mellhuish was "too frightened to get out, to say or do anything", said Mr Lakin.

He said Emery struck the window four times with the 12in lock shaped like a baseball bat, and had opened the car door and shouted and sworn.

Peter Barlex, counsel for Mr Emery, said Mr Melhuish had pulled out quickly which forced his client to pull into a tight space and the other driver "astonishingly" failed to stop after striking Mr Emery's wing mirror.

Mr Barlex said: "It was blown out of all proportion to the original incident. It distresses him because he is not a violent person. He appreciates his size and demeanour could well have been intimidating.

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