A DANGEROUS driver who was involved in a crash with a cyclist on a busy Swindon road has escaped an immediate prison sentence.

Ahmed Al-Rawi clipped a cyclist as he drove down Wood Street, and when the cyclist tried to stop him further down the road, he drove at him and “threw” him on the bonnet.

Al-Rawi drove two to three car lengths down Devizes Road with the victim screaming “stop” before a police car intervened and arrested him.

Video credit: CPS.

The defendant was given a suspended prison sentence on Thursday (July 28) when the judge said that whilst it was “an offence which clearly passes the custodial threshold”, he posed “absolutely no danger to the public”.

Al-Rawi was banned from driving for one year and ordered to pass an extended re-test before he can get his licence back.

Winchester Crown Court heard that Al-Rawi was driving his Nissan Primera on Wood Street on July 28, 2020, when he clipped the victim.

This Is Wiltshire: Ahmed Al-Rawi arrested at the scene. Photo: CPSAhmed Al-Rawi arrested at the scene. Photo: CPS

They became “enthralled” in a verbal altercation, prosecutor Leigh Hart said, with the cyclist stood in front of the car.

“The defendant I believed kicked or threw the bike out of the way, and [the victim] remained in the street in front of the bonnet.

“Some verbal words were exchanged and the defendant ended up driving away, resulting in [the victim] being carried on the bonnet for about three car lengths.

“Officers intervened and stopped and arrested the defendant, who disputed the driving was dangerous.”

In interview, and again in trial, he said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in Iraq, when he was tortured.

“[He] thought he was going to be attacked so wanted to go away,” Ms Hart continued.

The electric bike that Al-Rawi was driving was damaged, she added.

This Is Wiltshire: Damage to the bike after Ahmed Al-Rawi drove into it. Photo: CPS.Damage to the bike after Ahmed Al-Rawi drove into it. Photo: CPS.

The 55-year-old pleaded not guilty to one count of dangerous driving and was convicted by a jury after just under four hours of deliberations last month.

Defence barrister Gareth James told the court that Al-Rawi managed to escape Iraq, coming to the UK and claiming asylum.

“There does not appear to have been a great deal of speed, and fortunately the injuries sustained to [the victim] are relatively minor.

“It is a very short-lived incident and it is one which in my respectful submission could normally be dealt with by means of a community order, particularly when you bear in mind the assessments of the probation service.”

He claimed in trial that he gave the cyclist plenty of space, but Judge Richard Parkes QC said it was an argument “the jury is likely to have rejected”.

“Driving at someone is always dangerous and driving on once he hit your bonnet is plainly a dangerous thing to do and could have resulted in a serious injury to [the victim].

“This is clearly an offence which passes the custodial threshold.”

He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Al-Rawi, of High Ground in Tadpole Garden Village, must also pay £500 in compensation to the victim.