Van driver attacks pizza delivery rider in Plymouth road rage attack
A VAN driver punched a pizza delivery man in the face and dragged him across the street in a road rage attack, a court heard.
Angry Michael Hunt forced the motorcyclist to stop and hit him repeatedly around the head, forcing his helmet visor to come off.
Burly Hunt then dragged student Thomas Hatchett across the road, damaging the back of his helmet.
A judge said the attack was "inexcusable".
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Recorder Paul Dunkels told Hunt: "It was only the fact that he was wearing a helmet which saved him from more serious injury."
But he said Hunt showed genuine remorse and was paying for an anger management course.
The carpenter walked free from court with unpaid work and a compensation order.
Hunt, of Moreton Avenue, Manadon, admitted assaulting Mr Hatchett by beating on March 3.
He also admitted causing criminal damage to the student's helmet.
Hunt admitted the offence put him in breach of a suspended prison sentence, imposed for drug-dealing last year.
Recorder Dunkels did not implement the sentence, saying the order only had 19 days to go at the time of the assault and was for a different type of offence.
Will Rose, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said that Mr Hatchett was delivering pizzas for Papa John's at 7.20pm.
He said he pulled away from a junction in Tavistock Road, turning right into Southway Drive.
Mr Rose added he started off in the wrong gear and accepted he moved away slowly from the junction.
He said Hunt was behind him in a white van in Tavistock Road, and followed him into Southway Drive. The court heard he beeped his horn at the rider.
Mr Rose said Hunt cut across and stopped in front of Mr Hatchett, who managed to drive around him.
He added that Hunt overtook and again pulled across the delivery man, this time bringing him to a halt.
Mr Rose said Hunt appeared "fairly angry" when he got out of the van and he grabbed Mr Hatchett, shaking him back and forth.
He added Hunt swore at him and said: "Have you got something to say?"
Mr Rose said Hunt tried to punch him and the two fell on the floor.
The court heard that the defendant hit Mr Hatchett again around the helmet until the visor came off.
Mr Rose said he then punched him in the face through the visor and dragged him across the road so that the back of the helmet bumped along the ground.
He added that Hunt then demanded "Have you had enough?" and drove away.
The court heard Mr Hatchett was left with a swollen face and a couple of small cuts.
Mr Rose said the student managed to note the van's registration number and Hunt also left his mobile phone at the scene.
Julia Cox, for Hunt, said he showed genuine remorse and had sought out anger management, for which he was being assessed.
Recorder Dunkels handed him a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work.
He must pay Mr Hatchett £400 compensation and £620 prosecution costs.