Driver’s rant caused 10-year-olds ‘distress’

Knutsford Guardian: Andrew Priest                  Picture courtesy of Manchester Evening News Andrew Priest Picture courtesy of Manchester Evening News

A BUSINESSMAN who exploded into a foul-mouthed rant in front of primary school children when police stopped him for speeding has been fined.

Andrew Priest, 39, of Warford Park, Mobberley, was pulled over by PCSOs during a speed watch scheme after he was clocked travelling at 37mph in a 30mph zone.

The self-employed IT consultant hurled abuse at the PCSOs and staff when they attempted to explain the speed watch process.

They told him he would have the option of taking a £60 fixed penalty notice or answering questions from the group of 10-year-olds waiting nearby.

During his trial at Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court, Priest was accused of responding with a four-letter tirade at the PCSO and teaching assistant Debra Barker.

The children, of Gorsey Bank Primary School in Wilmslow, were described in court as suffering ‘distress’ caused by his outburst, which Priest’s own solicitor described as ‘obnoxious’.

Priest denied the charges, and claimed he didn’t know there were children near.

He said: “I wasn’t speeding, the traffic was exceptionally slow. I felt I was being targeted. I’ve never heard of a kids’ court, it sounds ridiculous.”

Defending Priest, Maura Logan said Mrs Barker’s recollection of events was exaggerated.

She said: “He was entitled to voice his concern and passionately express his innocence. It’s not surprising he was agitated when the police officer arrived.

“Was he rude? Yes. Obnoxious? Yes. Angry? Maybe. But not unreasonable, and not in breach of criminal law.

“There has been a lot of press coverage. People stare at him in the supermarket. He’s really being made to pay for what he did.”

District Judge Pam Baldwin found Priest guilty of using threatening words and behaviour to cause distress and speeding.

He was fined £800 for the public order offence and £200 for speeding, with £1,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, and was given three points on his driving licence.

The judge said: “All three witnesses said your shouting and aggressive behaviour caused the children present to exhibit signs of distress. I find it very difficult to accept you did not know of their presence.”

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