Sentence cut for man who rammed family car
A MAN who was jailed for a road rage incident near Peterborough which terrified a young family will be free within a month, after appeal judges cut his sentence.
Iain Alexander Fitzpatrick (35), of Beachill Crescent in Havercroft, Wakefield, was jailed for 15 months at Peterborough Crown Court in February after admitting dangerous driving in connection with the incident on October 24, 2008, at the Haddon Service Station on the A1 near Peterborough.
Daniel Hand and his family had parked at the services and, returning to their car, found Fitzpatrick had parked his car very close to it. While trying to get into his car, Mr Hand may have struck Ftizpatrick’s vehicle with his car door – prompting Fitzpatrick to try to block the Hands’ exit from the services and then chase them onto the A1.
Mr Hand feared he would be forced off the road, so took an exit into Peterborough only for Fitzpatrick to reappear and ram the rear driver’s side of the Hands’ car, where a baby was sitting.
Mrs Hand threatened to call police and Fitzpatrick left, but called 999 himself, claiming that he had been the victim of a hit-and-run at the service station.
He initially denied the offence, but lat- er admitted something must have happened, claiming he could not remember because he had felt unwell.
Sentencing him, the crown court judge said he would have received 18 months if he had not pleaded guilty.
But today, in a hearing at the Court of Appeal in London, Mr Justice Gross and Judge Christopher Moss QC, slashed his term to 10 months.
As he will serve no more than half of that before release on licence, Fitzpatrick will be back on the streets before the end of next month.
Mr Justice Gross said that, despite the seriousness of his conduct, the sentence passed was out of the range which this sort of crime should receive.
Mr Justice Gross said: “We take all the matters into account, but, having done so, we have no doubt that Fitzpatrick’s foolhardy actions amply merited an immediate custodial sentence.
“We say nothing to minimise the dangerousness of his driving. He had every chance to walk away from the incident or, if he had felt aggrieved, to call the police himself.”
He added that, when looked at in the light of guidelines for such offences, the 15-month term was “simply too high” and would be reduced to 10 months.