Axminster man jailed for road rage attack

PUBLISHED: 09:57 08 August 2012

David Pridmore.

David Pridmore.

Archant

Incident left woman motorist petrified.

A driver has been jailed for a road rage attack in a dark country lane which left a woman motorist too frightened to go out at night.

David Pridmore tailgated petrified driver Nicola Jarvis and rammed her repeatedly before blocking her in at a junction and hammering on her windows.

She was so terrorised by the incident on an isolated country road near Axminster that she moved house to get further away from Pridmore and stopped driving after dark.

Miss Jarvis was driving home from a skittles match at Kilmington with fiancé David Crossman when she pulled out onto the A35 road shortly after closing time on a foggy night.

Pridmore, aged 32, who has three convictions for drink driving, was racing another car along the road and had to swerve to avoid her because he was driving so much faster than her Citroen Saxo.

She was so alarmed by his driving that she turned off to take a country lane home but Pridmore turned his BMW around and followed her.

He then chased her for five miles through single track lanes with high hedges on either side, blinding her with his fog lamps, hooting, and ramming her from behind.

She speeded up to try to escape him but he stayed on her bumper, pushing her car along the lane until he undertook it at a junction and jumped out to confront her.

She and Mr Crossman locked themselves in their car and thought Pridmore was going to smash their windows with a baseball bat.

She was so scared she could not get the car into reverse to escape for several seconds, during which he hammered on the window swearing and shouting.

Miss Jarvis escaped but he followed and she only shook him off by going down a farm track with ditches either side and grass growing in the middle where it was too narrow and slippery for him to follow.

The area was so remote she could not get a mobile signal to call the police and so she drove straight to Honiton police station where she sought refuge, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Pridmore claimed the Citroen drove for the entire five-mile chase without lights.

He said he thought the people inside were drink drivers and he wanted to stop them to warn them about their driving.

Pridmore, of Flax Meadow Lane, Axminster, denied dangerous driving and having an offensive weapon.

He was found guilty of dangerous driving but cleared of the weapon charge after the victims said they were not sure what he had in his hand.

He sobbed uncontrollably in the dock into a wad of prison-issue toilet paper as he was jailed for 18 months by Recorder Mr Andrew Oldland.

He told him: “You were driving aggressively and too fast in fog when Miss Jarvis pulled out onto the A35 and was unfortunate enough to fall within your path.

“She turned off the road, not least because she had been frightened by you, and you turned around and pursued her in what became an appalling display of road rage.

“It took place over five miles on country lanes and she did what she could to shake you off but in rage you pursued her, ramming the rear of her car several times.

“At one stage you undertook her and drove across the front of her car, wedging her in.

“You got out and banged on the window, shouting for the occupants to get out.

“When she reversed and drove off, you pursued her again and again rammed her from behind. At any moment her car could have lost control and crashed. It is only luck that it did not happen.

“This was a terrifying experience for her and Mr Crossman and she is now too scared to drive a car at night.

“She panics when she sees lights in her rear view mirror.

“She has been treated for anxiety, had to take time off work, and finally moved away from the area to avoid any danger of contact with you.

“Your criminal record demonstrates a combination of road traffic offences and violence or threats.

“It is clear you have little regard for road safety and that is a dangerous combination.”

During a two-day tria,l Miss Jarvis said she was driving home from a skittles game at the New Inn at Kilmington, where she had been on soft drinks, when she was chased and stopped by Pridmore.

She said: “I was petrified.

“He was absolutely livid and I was not going to confront anyone like that.

“I can’t count the number of times he hit us.

“He was pushing more than ramming but rammed us at least six times. He was pushing me so much I had difficulty steering.”

Pridmore denied having a baseball bat or ramming the car.

He said he wanted to warn the driver their lights were off and only crashed when they jammed on their brakes in front of him.

He said he had no idea the driver was a middle-aged woman and believed the car to contain young men who were drink driving.

The trial earlier heard how Miss Jarvis only escaped by reversing away and managed to lose the chasing driver by using her local knowledge to go down a farm track which was so narrow he gave up the pursuit.

The area was so remote she could not get a mobile signal to call the police and so she drove straight to Honiton police station where she sought refuge.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, prosecuting, said Miss Jarvis was on her way to her home in a village near Dalwood from a skittles match at the New Inn at Kilmington when she was passed by two cars which appeared to be racing.

She was so alarmed by their driving she turned onto the country lanes but was then followed by Pridmore for around four miles on unclassified country roads, with no street lighting, in dark, foggy conditions.

She said: “He drove in a furious manner behind Miss Jarvis and eventually managed to wedge their car into a side wall.

“He then took a baseball bat and threatened them.”

A video taken of the route by police in daylight showed most of the lanes to be single track roads with high hedges on either side.

Miss Jarvis told the jury she had not been drinking at the pub skittles match because she was driving and had turned off the main A35 after seeing the two cars racing.

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