A SOUTH African businessman, who had just moved to the UK, ran down a steward with his Porsche when he found his path blocked by a parade as he attempted to reach his home in Mossley.
Justin Lindesay, 39, had been attempting to drive his £50,000 Cayenne to his home on Stamford Road but found the highway closed due to an annual Whit Friday procession.
But Lindesay, formerly of Cape Town, was new to the area and apparently knew nothing of the parade, which also involved brass bands and local church officials marching through the town.
When he was refused access through the cordon he got caught up in an argument with stewards marshalling a section leading to his £500,000 Victorian four bedroomed semi-detached home.
During the rumpus, the Porsche rolled forward hitting one of the stewards, sparking a further row in which the keys to the vehicle were seized and police were called.
Lindesay, who runs a business with his wife restoring vintage furniture, was later charged with dangerous driving after the incident in May last year and faced up to two years jail if convicted.
But on Tuesday, September 17 on the day he was due to face trial at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, prosecutors accepted his plea to the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention.
He was conditionally discharged after he insisted the steward was hit by accident. He was spared a fine but his driving licence was endorsed with three penalty points. He already had three points on his driving licence from a previous motoring matter.
Lindesay and his wife, who was in court to support him, have since moved 130 miles away to Lincolnshire.
Judge Bernard Lever told Lindesay: “You’ve managed to get into a dispute with wardens and the car you drive has rolled forward and come into contact with the hand of one of the wardens.
“There is no suggestion you deliberately drove into the man’s hand. This process of litigation must have been stressful for you and your wife. You’ve had to pay for legal aid and this whole thing will have been hanging over you both.
“You received scratches on your chest from the wardens trying to take your keys off you during the episode.
“I’m obliged to give you three penalty points but I am not going to order costs against you or order you pay compensation.
“Thank you to you and your wife for coming. I fully expect this will be the only visit to the courts you have to make. We have very dangerous criminals in these courts and we sometimes have to dish out life sentences but not for you.”
Earlier, Jon Close prosecuting said: “The defendant found the roads closed for a Whit Walks event that was taking place at the time.
“He was told by stewards he couldn’t use the road but something of an argument broke out between him and the volunteers and the defendant drove forward a little through the road closure.
“One of the volunteers stood in front of his car and the defendant came to a stop. But the car came into contact with that volunteer.”
Defence lawyer Kelly Cyples said: “He’s self-employed. He and his wife own a business which restores vintage furniture.
“They both lead law abiding lives and they were new to the area. They hadn’t heard of Whit Walks.
“He was born in South Africa and they are now living in Lincolnshire. This was a very unfortunate incident.
“It was an accidental coming together of the volunteer and the car. Some cross words were exchanged and as this was happening his car rolled forward.”
At the time of the incident local councillor Jack Homer, one of the stewards involved, said the driver had refused to heed their instructions not to advance through the cordon and was determined to continue.
He said: “When it became clear he was set to continue, I unsuccessfully tried to take the keys from the ignition. A number of stewards were stood in front of the car when he started to drive off forcing them to flee.”
Laura Wimbush, one of those stood in front of the car, said she was left “shaking” after the incident.