A former international showjumper who critically injured a cyclist because he was taking up too much road has been jailed for 33 months by Guildford Crown Court.
Christopher Robertson, 22, drove his car into Leslie Smith, 66, a former IT consultant, on a country lane in Surrey.
After leaving Mr Smith for dead, Robertson, the son of wealthy stud farm owners, began trying to cover up his role in the crash near his home in the village of Chiddingfold. He hosed down his Citroën Xantia, had a damaged numberplate replaced and ordered a junior colleague to remove police notices appealing for witnesses to the crash.
His mother, Sue, gave evidence for the prosecution saying that her son was dominating and a bully.
When Robertson was found guilty of dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice he swore at the judge and vomited in the dock before struggling as he was escorted to the cells.
Passing sentence, Judge Peter Moss said: “Mr Smith suffered appalling injuries from which he nearly died. He will continue to suffer for the rest of his life.” Mr Smith was hit by Robertson’s car at about 11am on September 23 last year.
He was left with a head wound that, according to the emergency services, sent “blood pouring” along the lane. Robertson then left the scene. When Mr Smith was found he was taken to hospital by air ambulance.
When police linked Robertson’s car to the crash, staff at his family’s Rumbolds Farm were interviewed. The defendant tried to explain changing the numberplate and washing his car by claiming that he had hit a deer.
Victoria Davis, an employee at the farm, told the court however that Robertson told her that he had collided with Mr Smith because a blind spot in the road meant that he had not seen the cyclist in time.
The truth emerged after Robertson confided to Scott Coleman, 22, a stable lad, about how he had struck the bike because Mr Smith was hogging the road. “Mr Coleman said that the defendant told him he had intended to clip him with his car, sending him into a ditch, but that it had all gone horribly wrong,” Robin Sellars, for the prosecution, said.
In an attempt to discredit Mr Coleman, Robertson claimed that the witness was angry because his homosexual advances to Robertson had been rebuffed. Mr Coleman, who was later dismissed from the stud for smoking cannabis, denied the suggestion.
Mrs Robertson told the court that her son’s career as a showjumper had been cut short by an ankle injury at 17 when he was competing in France. She admitted: “Scott Coleman was frightened of Christopher. Christopher likes to dominate people. He’s quite a bully.”
Mr Smith suffered multiple injuries including deep cuts to both legs, internal bleeding, fractures to his left hand, broken ribs, lacerations to his liver and injuries to his throat. He spent 20 days in intensive care and 15 weeks in hospital.
Robertson has a previous conviction for driving off after a collision.
The judge, who revealed that Robertson had had psychiatric treatment after an attack on his mother, said that the defendant was upset that his mother had appeared as a prosecution witness. “You feel she has been disloyal,” he said.
He added that her presence in court to support Robertson showed how wrong the defendant was. “You are the master not only of your own misfortune, but of Mr Smith’s misfortune as well,” he said.