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"Mexican stand-off" leads to road rage

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Thatcham man sentenced after refusing to reverse car

A Thatcham man appeared in court after a “Mexican stand-off” on a Cold Ash road led to a blast of road rage.

At West Berkshire Magistrates’ Court on June 9, Scott Wildman, aged 44, pleaded guilty to threatening fellow driver James Allen on a road at Cold Ash.

On September 6, the court heard, Mr Allen was driving at speed towards Mr Wildman’s Land Rover alongside a line of parked cars.

Prosecuting, Helen Waite said: “The road conditions were such that one had to give way to allow one to pass.

“There wasn’t sufficient room to pass and this effectively led to a Mexican stand-off and neither had the good grace to move.

“It was rather an immature stand-off quite frankly.”

With neither willing to budge Mr Wildman’s wife, a passenger at the time, got out of the car to tell Mr Allen to move his car.

The court heard that Mrs Wildman received “some unpleasant language” from Mr Allen and as tensions began to mount Mr Wildman then got out of his car to confront him.

Ms Waite went on: “Mr Wildman approached and Mr Allen described him as putting his arms into the car and putting his hands on to the neck area, and trying to grab the key which caused it to bend.

“Mr Wildman says that Mr Allen was pointing at him and he accepts that he slapped his hand away. It was a very unedifying spectacle.”

She added: “Mr Allen accepts refusing to move his vehicle; he maintains he had the right of way.

“Mr Wildman accepts that he used abusive and threatening language and because his wife had already got back to the car there was no need to do that.”

Defending, Mike Davis, said: “It is a Sunday afternoon on a nice day.

“The defendant is in his car, a Land Rover, with his son who suffers quite a severe disability.

“He is in no rush and the other man comes at speed from the other way and I accept that because the other car was passing a line of parked cars in a technical sense it is his right of way.

“There is a stand-off between the two. Unedifying is probably the best description.

“If either had put their car into reverse we wouldn’t be here today.

“[Wildman] does agree that he was angry and when the other driver pointed his finger at him he just slaps it away.”

He added: “It is probably embarrassing as much as anything for the defendant.

“He has learned his lesson and knows that next time he will just put the car into reverse and give way.”

Accepting his guilty plea, presiding magistrate, Anne Brown, said: “I think the word unedifying is probably the right one. It was a very unfortunate incident.”

Wildman was given a six-month conditional discharge and also ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £15.

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