A FORMER South Yorkshire Police detective inspector from Sheffield left a cyclist with a displaced jaw after punching him repeatedly in road rage.
David Beckett, 63, of High Street Mews, Mosborough, launched a ‘brutal, bullying, violent attack’ on cyclist Frank Cunliffe, who was left suffering headaches.
But Beckett, who retired in 1997, narrowly escaped jail when he appeared at Sheffield Crown Court after being convicted of common assault by magistrates - and appealing his conviction. He was jailed for six days initially before being bailed to the crown court for his appeal hearing.
The court heard Beckett was ‘tailgating’ other drivers when he ended up behind 60-year-old Mr Cunliffe - a keen cyclist riding his new £2,500 bike at Tinker’s Corner, Bradway, last March.
Beckett was alleged to have ‘cut up’ the cyclist as he went round a corner and an altercation ensued after the cyclist gestured at him.
The court heard Beckett drove on initially before getting out of his car and stopping the cyclist in the middle of the road before punching him repeatedly.
Prosecutor Michael Jowett said Mr Cunliffe was taken to hospital with bruising and later got headaches. Two months on, his dentist found his jaw was displaced.
He no longer goes out cycling.
Richard Barradell, for Beckett, said the former DI was an intelligent and proud man. “He was a distinguished police officer for 30 years,” said the barrister.
He added the case had ‘taken over his life’ and he was suffering ill-health because of it.
Sentencing him, Judge Peter Kelson said it was ‘clearly road rage’ and ‘a very serious crime’.
He said the disgraced former officer drove off after hearing the sound of police sirens, and had not shown a ‘shred of remorse’.
“The only person who doesn’t see it is you,” he said. “You think the whole world is against you.”
The judge said reports showed he had an ‘aggressive and provocative’ character and used threats to exert power over others.
He was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid community work and pay £1,035 prosecution costs.
He was also made subject to a restraining order not to contact Mr Cunliffe or a witness to the incident.
After the hearing Beckett said: “There has been a miscarriage of justice and I will be pursuing it through the European Court.”