'Thug' jailed for unprovoked attack on cyclist
PUBLISHED: 14:26 11 April 2019
A 'thuggish' attacker has been jailed for knocking a cyclist off his bike and breaking his eye socket in an unprovoked assault.
Josh Smith was standing in the middle of a cycle path and arguing with his mother when victim Dr Chris Sloan happened to ride towards him.
Dr Sloan was a complete stranger who was cycling home from his job as a weather radar expert at the Met Office when he was attacked next to the A376 at Clyst St Mary.
He stopped his bike because he could not get past Smith, who turned his aggression on him, knocked him to the ground and then punched him repeatedly in the face and upper body.
Smith, aged 22, of Sandringham Road, Newton Abbot, admitted causing grievous bodily harm and was jailed for a year by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him: ”You turned on the victim for no obvious reason other than your uncontrollable aggression. The cyclist was not presenting any challenge.
“He was simply waiting to pass by as you argued with your mother. This was a thuggish piece of anger and aggression.”
Mr Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said Dr Sloan was cycling home at 8.30pm on June 14 last year when he was attacked.
Smith’s argument with his mother was so violent that she stopped her car near Clyst St Mary and they both got out. He was waving a bottle as Dr Sloan approached them.
Mr Evans said:”Dr Sloan did not say anything or make any comment and simply cycled to within a metre or so when he was compelled to stop because his path was blocked.
“Smith approached and pushed him. He could not prevent himself toppling off his bike and Smith then launched his attack. He had a bottle in his right hand but used his left hand to aim about ten punches.
“Dr Sloan said about five made contact with his face or shoulder. Smith’s mother was screaming at him and Dr Sloan’s impression was that this was what caused him to stop.
“This was a sustained assault in which there was repeated punching when the victim was helpless on the ground.”
Smith walked away towards the central reservation and was arrested when police arrived on the scene. He told them he had taken 35 valium and was upset because of an argument with his mother.
He said: ”I feel really bad for him. I literally don’t know the guy. He came past and I rammed him straight into a lamp post for no reason.”
Mr Lee Bremridge, defending, said Smith was living a chaotic lifestyle at the time which led to the argument with his mother.
He is now planning to live with his father in Exmouth and would benefit from help from the probation service to tackle problems of mental health, substance abuse and anger management.