A Range Rover driver deliberately intimidated a fellow motorist before blocking the road with his vehicle, confronting his victim, and punching her car.
Out-of-control Ian Williams accused the woman of damaging his new 4×4 – despite the fact he had caused the damage himself by smashing into a parked car in an earlier incident.
The terrified woman managed to get away from Williams but he sped after her and confronted her again at a motorway junction. Swansea Crown Court heard the 36-year-old is ashamed of his actions.
Sophie Hill, prosecuting, said the incident took place at lunchtime on September 16 this year. The victim, who was in a Mini convertible with her 14-year-old daughter beside her, was driving down the main A4067 Swansea Valley bypass from Pontardawe towards the M4 when she saw a white 2019 plate Range Rover Evoque in her rear-view mirror.
The court heard the 4×4 sped up to the rear of the Mini and followed her “extremely closely” while swerving from side to side.
Miss Hill said the Range Rover was so close the woman in the Mini could clearly see the driver, Williams, in her mirror and could see he was “making finger gestures” at her.
The court heard that due to the way the Range Rover was being driven the woman believed the driver was under the influence of something, or was using his mobile phone, and she was so concerned she asked her daughter to film what was happening.
The Range Rover then overtook the Mini but slowed down in front of the car and came to a stop at an angle across the lane, effectively forming a “blockade”. Williams then got out and approached the Mini shouting and pointing at the driver before punching the wing mirror.
The terrified victim managed to manoeuvre around the Range Rover and drive off and the police were alerted. The court heard the incident was witnessed by a motorist who had been following the Range Rover and who stopped to see what was going on.
Williams got back into his vehicle and continued down the road at speed and another motorist coming in the opposite direction later told police she had seen a white Range Rover driving down the middle of the road forcing cars travelling in both directions to take evasive action to get out of its way. She said she herself had to swerve to the left to avoid the oncoming 4×4.
The court heard Williams caught up with the Mini at the Ynysforgan M4 roundabout where his victim’s car was stopped in traffic. Again he got out of his vehicle and confronted his victim, accusing her of hitting his car in a Tesco car park.
In an attempt to get away from Williams the Mini driver reversed and in doing so hit the same driver who had stopped to help during the first confrontation.
The prosecutor said the other driver tried to calm Williams down, pointing out that the Mini could not have caused the damage to the Range Rover because there was no corresponding damage on the car, at which point Williams “put his hands on his head and apologised” and said he had made a mistake.
Police arrived on the scene and Williams was described by officers as being “erratic and highly emotional”.
The police formed the opinion he was under the influence of substances and asked him to provide samples of saliva and breath for testing. Williams’ response was: “I will provide you with f*** all.”
He was arrested and taken to a police station where his “aggressive” behaviour continued and he failed to complete a breath test.
Police inquiries then discovered Williams had in fact caused the damage to his Range Rover himself. Hours before the road rage incident he had smashed into an Audi A1 car parked in Birchgrove Road in Glais before driving off. The Audi suffered “extensive damage” in the collision.
In an impact statement read to court the driver of the Mini said the incident had left her feeling upset and nervous and the day after the confrontation she had gone out and bought a dashcam for her car “in case anything like this happens again”.
Williams, of Graigola Road, Clydach , admitted dangerous driving, criminal damage, failing to stop after an accident, and failing to provide a sample for analysis. The court heard he only has one previous conviction, that for driving with excess alcohol in 2002.
Robin Rouch, for Williams, said his client had been “struggling with his mental health” at the time having not been taking his anti-depressant medication.
He said the defendant’s behaviour had been “impulsive, aggressive, and out of character” and he asked the court to accept a link between his actions and the side effects of a sudden stopping of his venlafaxine medication. Mr Rouch said the defendant was ashamed of what he had done on the day in question.
He said since his arrest Williams’ licence had been revoked on medical grounds, adding: “Frankly that is something he welcomes – he should not have been driving.”
Judge Keith Thomas told Williams he believed his behaviour had been “deliberately intimidating” towards a female driver and it was so serious it warranted a sentence of imprisonment.
He said he accepted the defendant had mental health difficulties which at the moment did not seem to be being addressed by anyone and he said he wanted to adjourn sentence for more information.
Williams was released on bail for sentencing in January.