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Marden motorist jailed after cyclist rage as he headed to Tenterden

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

Martin Hook was angered by a group of cyclists on the road

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A MARDEN motorist has been jailed for ten months after knocking two cyclists off their bikes last year.

Martin Hook, 58, of Spenny Lane who runs a motorcycle firm, pleaded guilty to two offences of causing injury by dangerous driving at Maidstone Crown Court.

One of the cyclists Mr Hook unseated was a police officer and he received a broken collarbone while the other rider suffered a fractured bone in his hand.

As he jailed Mr Hook Judge Charles Macdonald QC said: “You are an honest, hard-working family man. There will be hardship as a result of the sentence for your family as a result of your driving.

“In my judgement, there is no true remorse here and no real insight. You are, and remain, a danger to cyclists.”

In addition to the jail sentence, the judge also banned Mr Hook from driving for three years and ordered that he must take an extended test if he wants his licence back.

The incident took place as the cyclists were riding back from a race on September 29 last year.

Prosecuting counsel, James Ross, said that Hook was on his way to Tenterden with his two young daughters when he came across one group of cyclists riding side by side.

“He was irate about them cycling two abreast, rather than single file,” said the prosecutor.

Mr Hook then drove alongside the, sounded his horn and then drove past just “a couple of inches away from one.”

Mr Ross continued: “The defendant got in front of them and was waving his arms in anger and shouting.

“He carried on until he came across the second group of cyclists.

“They included Daren Squirrell and Lee Staples. He drove close to Mr Staples and knocked his bike, causing him to crash into Mr Squirrell.”

Both injured men needed hospital treatment and Mr Squirrell required surgery to insert a plate and seven screws into his collarbone.

Judge Macdonald said he was “satisfied the cyclists were deliberately endangered”.

Hook’s barrister, Ian Henderson, said that his motor cycle shop, which he had run for 30 years, had been hit by the recession and he was working six days a week.

He continued: “He was in a very stressful environment. In that stressful environment he found himself in contact with the cyclists. He was frustrated by what he saw as cyclists not paying much regard to other road users. They were straddled along the road.

“He accepts he pointed and remonstrated with the first group. He didn’t intend any collision. He doesn’t recall there being contact. He accepts there must have been some.”

He added: “He is a hard working family man and these offences are utterly out of character.”

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  • mushmatt  |  April 17 2014, 5:56PM

    Would have been nice for the author of this article to point out that cyclist riding 2 abrest is totally acceptable as per the Highway Code. Many drivers assumption that it's somehow illigal really needs to be addressed, and raising awareness of this fact would be very usefull. Especially in an article where a driver has incorrectly assumed he was in the right and 2 innocent road users ended up in hospital as a result...luckily neither of them where killed. Not mentioning this leaves the impression that his anger was somehow justified. It was not.

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