Motorist who used car as weapon and left cyclist for dead gets 30-month sentence

After leaving the scene, the driver returned to take pictures of his victim


A cyclist who was left for dead by a motorist has said his attacker's 30-month prison sentence is too lenient.

61-year-old Craig Perrott was cycling in Tooting, London when he remonstrated with Abdool Choonka, 70, for pulling out of a junction and nearly hitting him.

>>> Tour de France 2020 route revealed

Mr Perrott, who had climbed off his bike, was subsequently hit by the car and crushed against a parked vehicle. Mr Choonka then drove off in his 4x4 Lexus but came back to take photos of Mr Perrott lying on the floor with serious injuries. Choonka did not call an ambulance and told the court he didn't know why the car had moved forward.

Choonka has been sentenced to 30 months in prison, plus three months concurrent for criminal damage, and has been disqualified from driving for four years and three months.

The jury acquitted Choonka of GBH with intent, the judge saying he had "used his car as a weapon effectively".

Perrott was taken to the nearby St George's Hospital, receiving two operations to keep him alive before being transported to another London hospital where he was placed on a life-support machine.

The 61-year-old was fitted with four titanium ribs and a titanium pelvis, spending a total of 17 weeks in hospital. Perrott is said to remain in chronic pain and is unable to work, having also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Mr Perrott said in a victim impact statement read out in court: "It feels like it’s ruined my life. More than once it’s made me want to end my life … It was an act of needless aggression." Perrott is pursuing a civil compensation claim against Choonka's insurers.

In June, a yoga teacher who was knocked unconscious by a cyclist after she stepped out onto a London road while looking at her phone won a payout despite the judge ruling the crash was 50 per cent her fault.

The cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, was ordered to pay Gemma Brushett thousands in compensation as Hazeldean had failed to make a counter-claim against her, with his lack of insurance also meaning he would have to foot the legal bill as well as paying damages. More than £37,000 was raised in a crowdfunding campaign to help Hazeldean pay a purported sum of £100,000.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.