Driver pleads guilty to dangerous driving, actual bodily harm, and common assault

A man from Essex has pleaded guilty of dangerous driving, actual bodily harm, and common assault after he swerved his car into a cyclist.

In the video, filmed from a lorry behind the incident and released by Essex Police after the case concluded on Monday, the driver, Ashley Wallace Merrett, is filmed coming alongside the cyclist, before veering suddenly to the left, sending the cyclist into barriers at the side of the road before driving off.

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The incident took place at around midday on Friday, May 13, 2016, with Essex Police describing how the victim was “cycling on North Station Road with a friend when a Ford Mondeo braked heavily close by at which point the victim gestured at the driver.

“The vehicle was then in a collision with the victim, knocking him off his bike, before making off from the scene. The victim was taken to hospital for treatment but was not seriously injured.

“The driver of the car, Ashley Wallace Merrett, 30, of West Bergholt, was arrested later that day. He was then charged in June.”

Merrett pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, actual bodily harm, and common assault as he appeared in Ipswich Crown Court on Monday, December 18. He is due to be sentenced in February.

The release of the video comes just a day after Essex Police issued a statement after facing criticism for the way it handled a case involving another driver assaulting a cycling.

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Video footage appeared to show the driver deliberately knock the cyclist off his bike before punching him while he sits in the road. The police did not charge the driver over the incident, instead using a “community resolution” which the cyclist, Wolf Simpson, said that he did not agree to.

The police said that “it was not possible to establish how [the collision] occurred based on the footage and conflicting accounts” drawing criticism from numerous cycling campaigners, with Chris Boardman calling the police’s response “real failure in your duty of care”.