A driver who chased two riders along the road having threatened to knock them off their horses has been sent to prison for six months.
Andrew Giles verbally abused Leonie Brown and Becky Smith, then drove behind them, “wheelspinning and revving the engine” for about half a mile.
The 45-year-old, of no fixed abode, pleaded not guilty to three counts of threatening behaviour and one of obstruction of the highway but was found guilty, at Worcester Magistrates’ Court on 1 August.
Trainer Leonie, of Daneswood Dressage, said she was riding an older horse and Becky a four-year-old on a country lane in Ombersley, Worcestershire, last December when they heard traffic approaching, so they pulled on to the verge to allow the cars past.
“One went past but the second pulled in and stopped, and the driver got out of the car,” Leonie told H&H.
“He started asking odd questions, like did we know about the Highway Code regarding horses, and were we insured to ride on the roads. He got a bit aggressive and started swearing at us.
“I laughed, trying to diffuse the situation, and he said: ‘You won’t be laughing when I try to knock you off the road and kill you.’
“I thought ‘Whatever, silly man. Let’s just get out of the way’.”
The pair trotted away but Giles got back into his car and followed them.
“He chased us, revving and wheelspinning,” Leonie said.
“He was right behind us, for about half a mile; I thought he was going to knock us off and hurt us. It was absolutely terrifying.”
The riders pulled into the drive of the next house they reached, as Giles “sat in the road with his hazard lights on and didn’t move”.
The owner of the house, who the riders knew, was there and she offered to talk to Giles, who then left the scene. Police said Giles’ other offences included harassing a victim and attempting to “drive them off the road”, threatening a couple parked in a pub car park and refusing to move out of the way of a vehicle on a narrow road as he “thought the driver was from Horsewatch”.
“He’s a troublemaker,” Leonie said. “He’s someone who likes road rage and likes to pick a fight. I don’t think it was necessarily about us; he was just in a mood and wanted a fight with someone.”
As well as the prison term, Giles was banned from driving for two years and ordered to forfeit his vehicle to police.
West Mercia Police sergeant Sara Goodman said: “This is an excellent result for a particularly nasty rural issue. It is important for riders to feel safe when out on the roads and it is imperative both riders and drivers show respect and consideration for each other.
“This could have been a very dangerous situation which was only saved from becoming worse by the calm attitude of the two riders. PC Barry Morton, the officer in the case, worked really hard to ensure the victims were supported and all the evidence was presented.
“Thankfully, all our witnesses felt strong enough to attend court and a very positive result was achieved. It is important that this type of anti-social behaviour is stamped out.”
Neither Friesian Bert nor Rufus (pictured) was harmed in the chase.
“The horse I was on is a para horse and he was fantastic, not bothered at all, so I put myself between the car and the young horse,” Leonie said.
The driver 'went through us like dominoes' and…
The vehicle overtook with just centimetres to spare
“I’m just glad they didn’t bolt, as we’d have been in serious trouble, and thank God the house was there, as I don’t know how long we could have carried on at that speed.
“It was absolutely horrendous but we were so lucky.”
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