Leanna Greenwood, 30, wept as she was spared an immediate jail term by magistrates in Bristol for the 15 minutes of abuse and threats directed at victim Tanya Thelwell.Just another road rage incident? Well, not quite:
Laura Opie, prosecuting, said the offence took place in Harewood Road Speedwell on September 7 last year. She said Mrs Thelwell was driving her car and two young children along Meadow Vale when a car driven by Greenwood appeared on the wrong side of the road at a junction.
A statement made by Mrs Thelwell was read to the court by Miss Opie to open the case. It said: "I made way for her and she made a face at me while making the manoeuvre. I said under my breath 'thank you'.
"I looked in my rear view mirror and could see her following me. I parked in Harewood Road and she pulled up very close to me. She got out of her car and came towards me." Greenwood swore and was shouting, demanding to know what Mrs Thelwell had said to her.
Mrs Thelwell added: "I was alarmed by this and she was screaming at me to get out of my car.
"She shouted 'You don't know who I am, I am a bad woman.'Gosh, really? Hard to tell. More like a woman who needs a good long spell in prison...
"My children were getting upset and she was circling my car and trying to get into my car. Traffic was beginning to queue and other motorists were beeping their horns.
"She opened her door and deliberately hit it against the side of my car before moving forward. "She came towards me again and spat at my car. She called me a white bitch and said she knew where I lived."
Miss Opie added: "An elderly man asked the defendant to stop but she ignored him and continued to abuse Mrs Thelwell.
"She said she wasn't leaving and was going to smash Mrs Thelwell's face in. The incident lasted about 15 minutes.
"Afterwards Mrs Thelwell had to calm down and get somebody else to take her children into the nursery.
"She was totally shocked by it all and couldn't understand what she had done to inspire such a reaction."Just be there, it seems. Sometimes, that's all it takes, when someone like this has got away with it before...
The court heard it was the second time Greenwood had been convicted of a road rage incident and had been handed a suspended prison sentence on the last occasion.*sigh*
All the old excuses came out, of course:
Jane Taylor, defending, said single mum Greenwood had been a woman of good character (Ed: Eh? I thought that was courtspeak for 'never been up before the bench before?) but that a difficult relationship and personal tragedy had left her like a "coiled spring".
"As a single mum with two children she was having to hold things together for their sake when inside she was feeling like a coiled spring ready to explode," Miss Taylor said.
"She does not excuse what has gone on, she knows her behaviour was abhorrent. "She has expressed genuine remorse and would like the opportunity to write to the woman involved to apologise.
"You may feel that this has crossed the custody threshold but I would implore you not to send her to prison."You wouldn't think it'd work the second time around, for the same sort of offence, would you? You'd be wrong:
Yesterday magistrates told Greenwood: "This offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified. It was a sustained attack in front of children and was a road rage incident. But because of your personal circumstances we are not going to send you to prison today."
Greenwood was given 18 weeks in prison suspended for two years and must pay £1,200 compensation.Oh, I do so hope the next person she does this to is a magistrate!
And...given the term 'white bitch' was used, why did the useless CPS not charge this as a racially aggravated offence?