The passenger in a moving car who pushed cyclists on a memorial ride off their bikes has escaped a jail sentence.
Aaron Pauley, 21, filmed his dangerous prank on a mobile phone as he pushed riders on their way home from the Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club’s 355 mile cross-Channel memorial ride staged to mark the 40th anniversary of a French plane crash that killed 18 members returning from a France v England match.
As the cyclists rode through Wye in Kent he targeted four cyclists and two, including a partially-sighted rider, on a tandem.
The riders, who had taken the car number, flagged down a policeman and stopped for around 20 minutes to check no-one was injured. Eventually police tracked down Pauley and seized a mobile phone with video of the incidents.
Pauley, from Hastingleigh, Kent, denied four charges of assault and was found guilty at Thanet Magistrates’ court.
He was sentenced to a three-month suspended jail sentence, ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and made to pay £500 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Ride organiser Austin Cornish, whose father died in the air crash, said yesterday: “We were absolutely horrified. We had been cycling in France for three days with only support from the French and on our first day back in England people were pushed off their bikes.”
He said the riders, who raised more than £150,000 for charity, were pleased the culprit had been caught.
Rider Chris Berry, from Bury St Edmunds, said: “I managed to stay on but the rider in front of me was pushed over.
“Further up the road, the tandem was pushed, which had a partially-sighted rider, and another bike carrying an ex-policeman was pushed,.
“We were angry. By that time we were very tired and were just angry that someone could do something so stupid.
“We spoke to some riders who were further along, and they said he’d tried to do the same thing.”
Former police officer Neil Ireland was cycling down a hill when Pauley attempted to push him.
Mr Ireland, also of Bury St Edmunds, said: “I was going down towards Wye when this idiot came up alongside me.
“I glanced over and realised what was going to happen. He was hanging out the window, arm extended with a mobile phone.
“I quickly put the brakes on. I was scared because I was going down a hill, and I wasn’t going slow.
“We were lucky to come across Kent Police. They were excellent and I’m glad they pursued it.”