Ex-squaddie smashes driver's cheekbone with one punch in Smallthorne roundabouts road-rage row

Former soldier Philip Brough broke a driver’s cheekbone – by punching him in the face during a ‘road rage’ incident. The 40-year-old got out of his vehicle and attacked the victim – who was still in the driver’s seat – through an open car window. The single punch left the victim with a facial fracture and permanent scarring.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard the victim was driving along Moorland Road, in Burslem, towards Hanley, when the incident occurred on Smallthorne roundabouts. Prosecutor Alicia Perry said: “Shortly after entering the roundabout the victim heard a car horn sound. “It came from a white car entering the roundabout.

The driver of the car got out and immediately walked towards him, quickly and aggressively, in a confrontational manner. The defendant said, ‘Get out of the f****** car’. “The victim wound his window down to talk to the defendant.

As soon as he did so, the defendant punched him through the open window with his right hand in a clenched fist. The victim felt severe pain around his right eye socket.”

Smallthorne roundabouts

The court heard Brough left the scene as members of the public went to the victim’s aid. Miss Perry added: “The victim went to A&E where staff told him he had a fractured right cheekbone.

He had swelling and bruising to his eye and numbness in his jaw.” In a statement read out in court, the victim described how the attack had impacted on both his physical and mental health. “When the incident first happened, as well as the physical injuries, I was in shock for a few weeks,” he said. “I had nightmares and flashbacks.

“I did not want to drive, and as a driver by occupation that was worrying. I’ve been a driver for 40 years and have my own truck. I had seven weeks off work which was the first time I have ever had any time off sick.

I am now back at work but I am not finding it as enjoyable. “I still have no feeling in the right side of my face and have been told I may never get it back. I have a permanent scar under my right eye.”

Police interviewed Brough – who is an HGV driver – following the attack at around 11.30am on February 22. He said the victim had ‘cut him up’ on the roundabout. Brough, of Colley Road, Pittshill, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard he had experienced trauma while serving in the military and suffered difficulties in his personal life. Zoe Leese, mitigating, said: “Mr Brough has separated from his long-term partner and had been living under a bridge on the streets. “He has been receiving support from the veterans’ mental health services.

Sending him to prison would be counterproductive to his recovery. “He is currently off sick from work until his physical and mental health improves. He is genuinely remorseful.”

Sentencing Brough, District Judge Timothy Boswell said: “Something happened – I don’t know exactly what – that led you to think the injured party had driven badly. You pulled your car in front of his. “You got out of your car and walked towards him.

You were clearly angry and upset. You got to the car and were shouting insults towards him. “He wound his window down to try to speak to you and calm you down.

There was nothing to justify what you did next, which was to punch him in the face. The impact it has had on him has been significant.” Brough received a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He must complete 100 hours unpaid work and pay GBP500 compensation to the victim. District Judge Boswell added: “The harm you have caused, on its own, richly deserves an immediate custodial sentence. But in the nine months since there has been no offending behaviour.

You have taken steps to address the issues you have.

In my view there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case.”

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