Thug who put father-of-one leaving family music festival in coma after road rage attack is jailed for three and a half yearsJames Wallington attacked Peter Hart for trying to get his car to slow downMr Wallington headbutted and punched Mr Hart who fell over and cracked his head on the pavementMr Hart was attacked in front of his partner and young son as they left Guilfest festival in Surrey
19:16 GMT, 14 December 2012
Violent: James Wallington was jailed for three and a half years over the road rage attack
A man who put a father in a coma following a road rage attack has been jailed for three and a half years.
James Wallington, 32, headbutted Peter Hart,40, in front of his partner and young son, and punched him so hard he fell onto the pavement and cracked his skull.
Mr Hart was leaving a music festival with his family in Guildford, Surrey, and had tried to slow down the car in which Mr Wallington was travelling when he was violently attacked.
The attack in July this year left Mr Hart, a father-of-one, in a coma for three weeks, Guildford Crown Court heard.
The road rage assault happened as the Hart family was leaving Guilfest, the headliners for which included Jools Holland, Olly Murs and Bryan Ferry.
Witnesses said that Mr Wallington appeared to have been looking for a fight when he squared up to ‘scared and confused’ Mr Hart.
One witness heard shouts of ‘get out the way’ before the violent attack .
Mr Wallington, soon to be a father of two, clutched his head in his hand and said ‘cheers’ to Judge Christopher Critchlow as he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
On sentencing him Judge Critchlow said: ‘For whatever reason, when Peter Hart tried to stop the car you were travelling in because it was going too fast as a lot of people were leaving Stoke Park you got out of the car.
‘Almost immediately you assaulted him.
‘There was no justification for that whatsoever and the resulting effect on Mr Hart's life has been extremely serious and at the moment we do not know how he will recover.’
Judge Critchlow was told that at Mr Hart was walking with his partner and young son, who was in a pushchair, when a car approached them from the opposite direction.
‘It seems that the driver of the car was driving in such a way so as to cause annoyance to the complainant,’ said Peter Walsh, prosecuting.
Mr Hart signalled to the car to slow down, after which Mr Wallington, who was in the passenger seat, got out of the vehicle.
‘He attacked Mr Hart by headbutting him and punching him twice causing him to fall backwards and crack his head on the concrete pavement,’ said Mr Walsh.
Mr Hart has no recollection of the attack, which occurred at 6.30pm on July 13 this year on Kings Road in Guildford.
The attack left Mr Hart with life-changing injuries including a brain injury that left him in a coma for three weeks.
Brain injuries: Mr Wallington headbutted and punched Mr Hart causing him to fall onto the concrete pavement, leaving him in a three-week coma, Guildford Crown Court heard
Mr Walsh said he was still suffering from significant effects with his memory and speech and is still unable to return to work as a plasterer.
Mr Wallington was caught after the driver of the car in which he was a passenger, contacted the police.
He admitted a charge of assault at a previous hearing.
Wallington has a number of previous convictions dating back to when he was a youth, including robbery, theft, burglary and dishonesty.
Nadeem Holland, defending, said Wallington was due to become a father for the second time in January next year.
‘In his own words he said to me this morning that he is too old and has too many responsibilities to act in the manner he did on July 13,’ he said.
‘He lost it and lashed out first with his head and then his fists. He has described that to me today as wrong and stupid.’
Mr Wallington, from Bushy Hill, Guildford, was led to the cells as his partner, who is expecting his second child, sobbed.
Speaking after the sentence Detective Constable Dave Pellatt said: ‘This was an horrific, unprovoked attack on a local man who was just trying to ensure he and his family could cross a road safely.
‘The sentencing today reflects the severity of this attack and I hope it goes some way to enabling the victim to move on with his life. He has suffered considerably, both physically and emotionally as a result of the brutal encounter and it is a testament to him that he has been able to help officers with the investigation.
‘I would also like to thank members of the public who came forward with invaluable information following our appeals for help.’
‘Surrey Police will not tolerate behaviour of this kind towards innocent members of the public and will relentlessly pursue every line of enquiry to identify any person/s responsible and bring them to justice.’