Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cornish bible student jailed in road rage knife row

A Bible student who threatened a dustman with a knife during a road rage incident has been jailed for 15 months.

Simon Luke, 35, of Polsue Way, Tresillian, Cornwall, overtook a line of six vehicles when he was late for an appointment, Truro Crown Court heard.

When refuse collector Treve Stoddern confronted Luke at traffic lights, the Bible student pulled out a knife and Mr Stoddern received cuts to his hands.

Luke was convicted of unlawful wounding and having a knife in a public place.

The court was told there had been "pushing and shoving" between the two men before Luke produced a 12in (30cm) bladed fishing knife from behind his back and brought it up to the binman's face.

'Awful error'

Mr Stoddern, 50, went to grab the knife with his hands and his fingers were cut as Luke pulled back the blade.

Judge Stephen Wildblood QC told Luke: "This was knife crime. There was no reason for you to take the knife with you out of your car."

Mr Stoddern said he intended to give Luke a piece of his mind because "he had driven so dangerously and could have killed someone", but Luke accused Mr Stoddern of being "super aggressive".

"The way he was acting I thought he was going to kill me," Luke told the court.

The incident happened on the A394 Helston to Falmouth road last June as computer engineer Luke raced to his next appointment.

Beeping horns

Defence lawyer Piers Norsworthy said Luke's behaviour was caused by frustration, but he was not a violent man.

"He made an awful error, a big mistake, the injury caused was by his reckless not deliberate actions," he said.

"He was frustrated behind a dustcart and the beeping horns and Mr Stoddern's behaviour in the cab."

Luke, who has no previous convictions, was described in court as a "sincere Christian man" and a "kind and compassionate man" by his Bible college friends.

The judge, sitting in Exeter Crown Court, ordered Luke to pay his victim £500 compensation, even though he accepted there had been some provocation.

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