Man attacked van with axe during road rage incident

AN axe-wielding passenger leapt out of a car and launched an attack on a van after he thought the driver had cut him up in a road rage incident, a court heard.

Alexander Scholes "lost the plot" and smashed the windscreen of the van and tried to get in through the locked doors on the A38 in Droitwich on October 23.

Paul Whitfield, prosecuting, told Worcester Crown Court that Sean Westwood and his passenger Jack Webb were going to work at about 10.30am in a Peugeot Boxer van when they approached the traffic lights near Droitwich, just past the Chateau Impney. He indicated left, checked his mirror and turned. He heard a horn sound from the vehicle behind and then a Mitsubishi 4x4 overtook him as he turned and parked diagonally, blocking the two lanes of the road.

Scholes got out of the passenger side and ran towards them with a two feet long axe with a four or five inch blade in his hand. Mr Westwood was "terrified" and locked the doors, Mr Whitfield said. Scholes swung the axe over his shoulder and brought it down on the windscreen, smashing it and causing £360 of damage.

Mr Westwood drove off and called the police who later found the Mitsubishi and arrested Scholes. They also found a small amount of cannabis in the car.

Scholes, of Birmingham Road, Bromsgrove, immediately confessed and said he got angry when he thought the driver had cut him up. He had lost his licence and said he would have rammed the van rather than attacking it with an axe if he had been driving instead of his partner.

The court heard that the 40-year-old, who pleaded guilty to damaging the van, threatening with a bladed article and possessing a small amount of cannabis, had a long record but had been out of trouble since 2008.

Gerald Bermngham, defending, said Scholes had begun to sort his life out and had a stable relationship with his partner. They had six children, two of them with disabilities, and he had been intending to take a re-test for his new licence and get a a job.

"He lost the plot," Mr Bermingham said. "He grabbed the nearest thing and behaved like an idiot."

Judge Robert Juckes, QC, said the road rage was sparked by an everyday incident and Scholes had misunderstood what had happened.

"It's difficult to imagine how it must have been for those two people in their van to be confronted by a big man armed with an axe," the judge said.

He gave Scholes an 18 week sentence in total. He has already been in custody on remand since the date of the offence and this will be subtracted from his sentence.

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