Showdown for the chariots of wire

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The Independent Online
Trolley rage - infant sibling of the affliction that turns normally sane individuals into motorised maniacs - came of age yesterday as details were revealed of a supermarket showdown more suited to a wild west saloon.

Push came to shove, magistrates were told, as the two combatants wheeled their chariots of wire into Morrisons' Wakefield store, and culminated in a bare-knuckle bust-up that left a man beaten and bruised amid the scattered debris of a flattened cake display.

The court was told that the incident started when Joseph Wilkinson, 50, accidentally bumped the wife of his adversary, Laurence Cottam, 56, as they made their way through the revolving doors at the entrance to the store. He apologised when she berated him, but seconds later, he found himself on the wrong end of a revenge ramming raid by Cottam. He pushed Cottam's trolley back but moved away after the 18-stone security guard from Darnley, Wakefield, reacted by taking off his glasses.

A few minutes later they came face to face in the cake department and Mr Wilkinson was punched three times, and kicked as he lay on top of a Mr Kipling cake stand. Mr Wilkinson said Cottam looked like a "crazy man", and he had been forced to take three weeks off work to recover.

Cottam told the court that trouble started after Mr Wilkinson pushed a trolley into his wife on purpose. He said Mr Wilkinson had tried to punch him but missed and walked away.

Fining Cottam pounds 250 for causing actual bodily harm and ordering him to pay pounds 576 compensation and costs, the chairman of the magistrates told him: "We have discounted any suggestion that there may have been of any form of self-defence in this matter."