Drunk pushed cyclist into path of vehicle
A DRUNKEN man jailed for pushing a cyclist into the path of a car is to be freed from prison this week after winning his court battle.
Antony John Venables took his case to the Court of Appeal after claiming his eight-month prison sentence for assault was too long.
The 27-year-old has already served two months behind bars after being jailed at Chester Crown Court just before Christmas.
Now three Court of Appeal judges have agreed to halve Venables's jail term at a London hearing yesterday.
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It means the defendant, of Priory Avenue, Leek, can be freed from prison sometime this week – having served half of his four-month sentence.
The Court of Appeal heard Venables had been to Chester Races as part of a stag party when he shoved railway station worker Howard Donoghue off his bike in Chester city centre on July 14.
Mr Donoghue fell into the road and a car only avoided running over his head by inches.
The court heard Mr Donoghue was only spared serious injury, or even death, by the evasive action of the motorist, who managed to swerve out of the way. Despite causing a brush with death, a laughing Venables proceeded to take Mr Donoghue's bike and ride up and down the street on it until a passing woman intervened and made him give it back.
A passing policeman then got involved and Venables tried to dodge arrest by joining the coach taking his group home at a different place to that arranged.
But the vehicle was followed by the police and the thug was arrested.
The judge at Chester Crown Court jailed Venables as a deterrent to dissuade people tempted to 'get drunk in the city centre and behave like you did'.
But Venables's lawyers argued the judge had gone too far in his wish to take a stand against drunken city centre chaos.
The judges agreed with Venables's legal team and ruled that a suspended prison sentence should have been imposed.