A FATHER-OF-TWO from Great Sutton who assaulted a council employee in a road rage attack has escaped a jail term.
Magistrates heard how David Ellis, of Peckforton Drive, assaulted Michael Lawrence, a plasterer employed by the borough council, on October 13 last year.
Mairead Neeson, prosecuting, said the incident had been triggered by a Vauxhall Vectra, driven by Ellis, pulling out in front of the council van that Mr Lawrence had been driving on Princes Road.
Ellis, 30, had then swerved in front of the van, forcing it take evasive action and stop on Cannon Street.
The Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston court was told he got out of his car and started throwing punches through an open window.
The attack is said to have lasted about 30 seconds, after which Ellis is alleged to have told Mr Lawrence 'Next time I see you, you will be dead'.
A witness reported seeing Ellis approach the vehicle but was unable to see if any punches were thrown.
Ellis pleaded guilty to the assault, but claimed it had been a minor scuffle between the two which involved pushing and shoving.
John Evans, defending, said there had been a long history of animosity between the two men, which had started when Mr Lawrence had insisted on parking his van in the way of the defendant's driveway.
Mr Evans said 'glares, stares, and hand gestures whenever the two had passed in the street' became the norm. In this incident, Ellis claimed that Mr Lawrence had in fact swerved in front of him, and had made a hand gesture to provoke him.
Mr Lawrence suffered a fractured finger in the incident and also sustained a graze to his lip.
Sentencing Ellis to 12 months probation, District Judge Carl Tepper said: 'This was a typical road rage incident and you should have known better.'
He said the order should not be taken lightly and warned: 'Should you repeat this sort of offence you know exactly what is going to happen, and that would mean custody.'
Ellis must also pay £250 compensation with £150 costs.