A man has been spared prison after knocking a pensioner to the ground in a visious road rage attack.

Stephen Cartwright, 41, broke an elderly man’s jaw in the terrifying incident after he saw red when the victim pulled out in front of him.

When the incident – witnessed by his own children – happened, both Cartwright and the victim jumped out of their vehicles and things took a violent turn when he punched the elderly man to the ground and then sped off in his car.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard the victim has multiple health issues including hepatitis B and type-two diabetes, and was left with a fractured jaw, StokeonTrentLive reports.

Cartwright, from Bentilee, was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and will pay the victim £1,350 in compensation.

Prosecutor Joanne Fox said the ‘road rage dispute’ happened on September 5 last year on the A34 at Trent Vale.

Ms Fox said: “The injured party was an elderly man. He pulled out in front of Cartwright. Cartwright took issue with that. He followed him to close proximity and pulled over.

“Both men got out. They remonstrated. Cartwright punched the man and knocked him to the ground. He suffered a broken jaw.”

It was said in a victim statement that the man suffered pain in his neck and jaw, a bruised hip, a grazed leg and has struggled to sleep while also having multiple trips to the hospital since the horrific attack.

He said: “It has had a negative impact on my mental health. I am a driver for a living. The first time I got in the minibus I started shaking, the assault was replaying in my mind.”

Cartwright pled guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Jason Holt, mitigating, said the incident happened near Tesco in Trent Vale. He added: “Two lanes merge into one. The complainant appears to have pulled out after the lights into the left lane. He blocked my client’s path. He could not go anywhere.

“The complainant was the first person to get out of the vehicle. The bottom line is there was a manoeuvre which he was wrong in doing. There was an indication from Cartwright about his disapproval about his manoeuvre. The complainant stopped his vehicle and got out. There is independent evidence he raised his arms.

“Cartwright accepts he should not have got out and confronted him. He acknowledges the wrongdoing in that.

“It was a single blow. He turned and left the scene. The only way he could leave the scene was to go over the kerb and drive off. He was stopped by police minutes later.”

Mr Holt said that Cartwright was instantly concerned for the victim and apologised after he lost control in front of his partner and children.

Mr Holt said: “He can’t believe he acted in the way he did. He is 41 and has no previous convictions. He is not a violent man. He hopes to marry his partner next year. She describes how this is totally out of character for him. He is a family man, a hard worker, trusted, loyal and honest.

“He acknowledges he did wrong but wants it to be put into the context of the reality of the situation that occurred that day. It was excessive self-defence, impulsive and spontaneous.”

As well as his suspended sentence, Cartwright will have to finish a rehabilitation activity requirement of 20 days, and 150 hours of unpaid work.

District Judge Ian Barnes said: “It was a needless and senseless incident. People often when they get into vehicles their personality seems to change.

“The independent witness saw the victim pull in front of your vehicle and he got out first. However, you got out and punched him.

“Clearly your frustration and anger got the better of you and you struck him with force. You did not need to get out of the car. You punched him with such force he fell to the ground and suffered a fractured jaw.

“You very quickly regretted your actions. When the police approached you, you were clearly remorseful and were asking as to the welfare of your victim. That remorse does appear to be genuine.

“You have no previous convictions, you have a good work ethic, you have family commitments, and you are well thought of. I have to bear in mind the effect prison will have on your family and children. There is a very realistic prospect of rehabilitation.”

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