A FURIOUS motorist punched a dog walker and drove at him after he was challenged about driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Road rage attacker Daniel Spence wept in the dock at Bolton Crown Court as he was spared an immediate jail sentence after admitting dangerous driving and assault.

Megan Tollitt, prosecuting, told how, just before 5pm on January 28, John Woolfenden was walking his dog along Red Lane, Breightmet, when he spotted a Nissan Qashqai heading towards him at speed, going the wrong way up the one-way street.

“In response Mr Woolfenden put his hands in the air and looked at the driver to question what he was doing,” said Miss Tollitt.

When Mr Woolfenden shouted towards the car, the driver, 31-year-old Spence, stopped suddenly a metre away from him, jumped out and confronted him.

“Mr Woolfenden took out his mobile phone and, in response, the defendant said he shouldn’t be taking pictures,” said Miss Tollitt.

The dog walker tried to walk away but Spence attempted to grab the phone from his hand and then punched him repeatedly.

Mr Woolfenden, still holding his dog and his phone, used his free hand and leg to defend himself until a passenger in the Nissan intervened and led Spence away.

But instead of leaving the area, Spence got back into the driver’s seat and accelerated towards Mr Woolfenden.

The car decreased speed as it mounted the kerb and struck Mr Woolfenden’s right hip, causing him to stumble. He suffered cuts to his ear and a swollen knee.

Part of the incident was captured on CCTV from a nearby house and Spence, a single dad-of-one voluntarily attended a police station.

“He admitted slapping Mr Woolfenden’s phone away but he told officers he had been pushed and kicked. He said he tried to carry on driving but Mr Woolfenden was in the way so he couldn’t get past,” said Miss Tollitt.

The court heard that Spence, of Moorfield Grove, Bolton, regrets his behaviour.

Robert Smith, defending, stressed that the incident was short-lived and serious injury was not caused.

“The defendant has underlying issues which could possibly explain this sudden outburst of anger that he displayed at the time of the offence,” he said.

He appealed to the court to allow Spence’s problems to be dealt with by the probation service in the community, enabling him to continue working as a dry liner and employing others.

“The defendant accepts he needs help in issues of anger management and it may well be that assistance would reduce the risk of him behaving in this way in the future,” said Mr Smith.

Recorder Simon Hilton sentenced Spence to nine months in prison, suspended for two years during which he must undertake 100 hours of unpaid work and participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

Spence was ordered to pay £500 in compensation plus £250 towards prosecution costs and he was banned from driving for 12 months, after which he will have to take an extended driving test.

“This was a bad case of dangerous driving because it was very dangerous indeed to drive your car at a pedestrian,” Recorder Hilton told Spence.

“This was dangerous driving where the car was used as a weapon. I don’t think this was entirely accidental contact.”