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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Marquess admits road rage charge
Marquess of Blandford
The Marquess of Blandford is being treated at the Priory Hospital
An aristocrat has admitted three driving charges including a road rage attack on another motorist's car.

The Marquess of Blandford, Charles Spencer-Churchill, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving, careless driving and one of criminal damage.

The 51-year-old was released on bail and will be sentenced on 10 September at Oxford Crown Court.

The heir to the Duke of Marlborough is currently being treated at the Priory Hospital in London.

The marquess will also be sentenced for another offence of dangerous driving after he was convicted in his absence at Coventry Crown Court last month. He was in hospital at the time of the hearing.

'Tailgated drivers'

Judge David Morton-Jack, who released the marquess on bail for a pre-sentence report and a medical report, said: "I don't want to probe into every nook and cranny of his past but I do think I need to know what his condition is in some detail."

On Monday, the marquess, whose family owns the Blenheim Palace estate, admitted a charge of dangerous driving on the A4260, between Banbury and Wootton in Oxfordshire, in January this year.

He also admitted a charge of careless driving and criminal damage following an incident on the A4095 in the county on 22 August last year.

In that incident, the court heard Spencer-Churchill "tailgated other drivers at high speed, twice overtook motorist Graeme Kennedy, 39, and stopped suddenly, causing Mr Kennedy to brake sharply".

Judge Morton-Jack said he had "cut sharply in front of Mr Kennedy's car, causing him to swerve on to the wrong side of the road".

Swearing and shouting

The marquess then stopped in the middle of the road, blocking both lanes of traffic, ran back to Mr Kennedy's car swearing and shouting and kicked out at the driver's door.

Mr Kennedy, a motor trader originally from the Isle of Bute, Scotland, was on his way home to Eynsham, when the incident happened.

The prosecution accepted the troubled aristocrat's not guilty plea to dangerous driving.

But he admitted a lesser charge of careless driving, the court heard.

Barrister Rachel Drake said the incident was being treated as road rage.

Police video

The court heard the marquess was bailed to an address in South London so he can continue to attend outpatient appointments.

The marquess's dangerous driving conviction at Coventry Crown Court last month could only be reported on Monday after his guilty plea to the offences in Oxfordshire.

The court was shown footage of him speeding and undertaking other vehicles on the M42 near Birmingham Airport on 16 June.

The video also captured the marquess swerving towards a police car, forcing its driver to take evasive action.

The son of the 11th Duke of Marlborough, who has a history of drug abuse and driving offences, spent a month in jail in 1995 for forging prescriptions.


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