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Driver who rammed cyclist in road rage revenge attack jailed for three years

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/05/2017 Tristan Kirk
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A motorist who deliberately rammed into a cyclist in a road-rage revenge attack broke down in tears as she was jailed for three years today.

Justine Henshaw-Bryan, 25, mowed down cycle courier Damien Doughty, 38, after he had told her off for using her mobile phone at the wheel.

She tailgated his bike as he tried to flee down a side street, then swerved to run him off the road and into a tree before driving away.

Mr Doughty was left in a crumpled heap in agony with injuries to his liver and fractured ribs, and told the Standard today he believes Henshaw-Bryan should not be allowed to drive again. 

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Sentencing her to three years in prison, Judge Gregory Perrins said: "This was not an accident caused by your reckless driving, it involved an attempt to run him over, effectively using your car as a weapon."

He told her: "It is not inconceivable that your deliberate actions could have killed him.

"This was a severe piece of dangerous driving, deliberately pursuing a cyclist and taking a conscious and calculated decision to ram him off the road."

The judge said she made it worse by driving away instead of stopping to help Mr Doughty. 

"Those who are unable to control their temper when driving and feel that cyclists are somehow fair game must understand the courts will deal with them seriously", he added.

Henshaw-Bryan blew kisses to her family and friends in the public gallery, calling out "I love you mummy" as she was led away to the cells.

The incident was sparked on February 10 last year when Henshaw-Bryan pulled out in front of Mr Doughty as he cycled home along Stoke Newington High Street from an evening meditation session.

The cyclist asked her to apologise but was incensed when she instead raised her middle finger and told him to "f*** off".

Mr Doughty told Wood Green crown court he cycled after Henshaw-Bryan's Ford Focus and kicked her wing mirror in "a moment of madness", but then felt the car close behind him as he continued his journey. 

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He pulled a sharp left turn into Victorian Grove to try to get away from the car but Henshaw-Bryan continued in hot pursuit.

Shocking CCTV then caught the moment she swerved to hit Mr Doughty before he could mount the pavement.

"I remember the car rear-ending me, letting out a scream as I realised what was happening", he said.

"I realised I had been hit, and within an instant I'm in a crumpled heap on the floor in extreme amounts of pain, fully aware that the car was long gone."

Henshaw-Bryan, who is now almost three months pregnant, tried to blame her ex-boyfriend, Aaron Hall, for the crash, claiming he had grabbed the wheel and turned the car at the cyclist.

But Mr Hall, who split from Henshaw-Bryan shortly after the incident, came to court to tell jurors although he was in the car he had not grabbed the steering wheel.

Henshaw-Bryan, dressed in prison-issue sweatshirt and trousers, was found guilty at trial yesterday and was remanded overnight in prison.

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She sobbed throughout today's hearing, looking sorrowfully to her disabled mother in the public gallery who relies on her as a fulltime carer.

"Imprisonment is going to be a real deal for her mother, she needs her daughter for her daily basic care needs and is now going to have to make other arrangements", said defence barrister David Rhodes.

"By her own foolish actions she has now put her mother in hardship."

He added that Henshaw-Bryan, from Hackney, had asked him yesterday whether she will give birth to her child in prison or a hospital, and whether her mother will be able to be by her side for the birth.

Following the trial, Mr Doughty said he hoped the conviction sent a strong message to motorists to take care on the roads.

“I hope it acts as a message to dangerous drivers. I recognise the same behaviour from drivers every single day", he said.

“Drivers don’t understand how dangerous their behaviour can be on the road, you only realise it on a bike when there is nothing to protect you.

“So many people who are nice get into their cars and turn into absolute maniacs.”

He added that the crash had left him with a permanent hand injury and unable to return to his cycle courier job.

“If it was up to me then she wouldn’t be allowed to drive again, absolutely not. If somebody abuses the power of driving a car it should be taken away from them.

“She used it as a weapon against me. If she had a gun licence but shot me that would be taken away forever as well."

Henshaw-Bryan denied the offence but was convicted by a jury of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

She was banned from driving for four and a half years and given six points in her licence as part of the sentence.

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