Chester taxi driver assaulted man after crashing into parked car — (The Chester Chronicle)

SSRI Ed note: Taxi driver takes more antidepressant than usual, becaome aggressive, crashes caar and assaults driver. He is charged and fined.

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The Chester Chronicle

Nov 20 2008

by Allison Dickinson, Chester Chronicle

A 58-YEAR-old taxi driver has been disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to pay £425 after crashing into a parked car and assaulting the occupant.

Malcolm Paul Coppock, of Heath Lane, Great Boughton, admitted at an earlier hearing driving without due care and attention, failing to stop after the accident and assaulting the driver of the other vehicle.

Julie Barr, prosecuting, said: “The victim of the assault, Leonard Hawkesford, was sat in a parked car with his wife and nine-year-old son on Charles Street, Hoole just before 5pm on Sunday, July 27.

“A Peugeot 406 car driven by Mr Coppock came around the corner and collided with their vehicle, causing it to be thrown back by several feet.

“Mr Hawkesford saw the driver reversing as if he was going to drive away so he got out of his car and reached in to take the keys so he could get his details.”

Although the car did not seem damaged, Mr Hawkesford tried to explain that his details were needed just in case any repairs had to be carried out.

Mrs Barr continued: “Mr Coppock jumped out of his car, shouting and swearing. He lunged towards Mr Hawkesford and, in the process of doing so, collided with some passing children.

“A male who was with the children had an altercation with the defendant and punched him in the face, knocking him to the floor.

“He got up and immediately went back to Mr Hawkesford, shouting at him and punching him to the face, leaving him with a black eye and bruising to the left cheek.

“He drove away after more members of the public intervened, leaving the family shaken.”

Coppock told police he had received some bad news about his mother and that he was on medication for depression, causing him to feel confused and slightly out of control.

Steve Cooper, defending, said that Coppock had apologised for his actions and accepted he was “completely out of order”.

He added: “The medication caused a great deal of difficulty with regard to his behaviour. He has been seeing his doctor for anxiety since 2003 and recently separated from his long-term partner.

He had seen her the night before the incident and took too much medication on that day as a result.

“He went for a drive, clearly a rash decision, and accepts he did not act reasonably – but his recollection of the incident is sketchy at best.”

Mr Cooper explained that, as a taxi driver, Coppock stood to lose his livelihood Sas a result of any disqualification.

In addition, he needed a job to be able to afford to make fortnightly trips to Ipswich to visit his elderly mother, who is in a nursing home and suffers from Alzheimer’s.

For the assault, magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 200 hours unpaid work and awarded Mr Hawkesford £125 compensation.

For driving without due care and attention, Coppock received a £100 fine, with a £125 fine and five penalty points for failing to stop after the accident, along with a £15 victim surcharge and £60 prosecution costs.

As a result of the totting up procedure, Coppock was also disqualified from driving for six months.