Guscott road rage 'put pedestrian in hospital'

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THE INTERNATIONAL rugby player Jeremy Guscott broke an antique dealer's ankle when he repeatedly slammed him into a shop doorway, a court was told yesterday.

Kenneth Jones said the 34-year-old former England ruby union centre told him he was lucky he had not "punched his lights out" during the attack. Mr Guscott denies causing Mr Jones actual bodily harm in the incident in Bath on 24 March this year.

Giving evidence yesterday at Bristol Crown Court, Mr Jones, 47, said he was walking across a pedestrian crossing between his two shops when Mr Guscott's blue Mercedes sports car jumped the red light. He told the jury of nine women and three men: "I got about halfway across when I felt this car just go flying behind me. It seemed to screech to a halt. I went over to slap on the window of the driver's side. I said 'oy' and that was as far as I got.

"I intended to say 'you went through a red light' but I do not remember whether I said it or not, as the next thing I knew I was being grabbed by the defendant. I just felt him grab me by the lapels. I was bundled back on to the pavement and then banged up and down on the floor. My legs were on the ground but my body was being lifted." Mr Jones said Mr Guscott continued to manhandle him against the shop front while shouting and swearing at him. Mr Jones added: "He said, 'Don't take liberties with me'.

"I said, 'But you went though a red light'.

"He said, 'Never walk out in front of my car like that'.

"I said, 'Why are you doing this?'

"He said, 'You're lucky I didn't punch your lights out'. He was very angry."

Mr Jones said he noticed his right foot was at "at right angles to the pavement. I said, 'You've broken my ankle'.

"He said, 'Don't be stupid, it's only dislocated'."

Mr Jones said he called for help from his shop and his partner called an ambulance. He was taken to hospital and was told he had three or four broken bones in his ankle. He said that he had to have an operation and was in hospital for 11 days.

Mr Guscott, from Bath, won 65 caps for England before retiring from international rugby last month during the World Cup. He spoke only once to confirm his name to the court and sat expressionless throughout Mr Jones' evidence.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Susan Evans told the jury: "I expect you have all heard of Mr Guscott. You probably know something of his achievements. You probably know he represented his country at the highest level in rugby. I am sure it won't give anyone any pleasure to convict Mr Guscott of this offence but you have to put aside any emotions you may have."

Mr Guscott would claim he was acting in self defence. "The prosecution say this was not self defence at all. Mr Jones did not represent a threat to Mr Guscott. Mr Guscott was angry Mr Jones had the audacity to step out in front of his car and knock on the window. He was effectively teaching Mr Jones a lesson." The jury was shown a three-minute video of the incident taken from a security camera inside Mr Jones' shop.

The trial continues today.