Car-hating cyclist jailed over fatal road rage

A CYCLIST who “disliked cars” has been jailed for 18 months for killing a motorist who opened his door in front of him.

Victim Tony Magdi, 52, died three weeks after being assaulted outside his greengrocer’s shop in Portland Road, Hove, East Sussex, on November 7, last year.

Paul Lambeth, 36, was originally charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm but this was changed to manslaughter following Mr Magdi’s death at Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre in Haywards Heath on November 28.

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Amy Packham, prosecuting, told Hove Crown Court yesterday that Lambeth was cycling with James Jones and Michael Wilson, along Portland Road towards central Hove at around midday when the incident happened.

The three were in a line with Mr Jones in front when they approached Mr Magdi’s Jaguar, which had just pulled up and parked.

He opened his driver’s door and struck Mr Jones, causing him to fall off into the road and the others had to brake sharply and swerve. Another cyclist who was nearby also fell off his bike.

Mr Magdi rushed to Mr Jones’s aid and was immediately apologetic to the four men, who were initially angry and swore at him.

Lambeth was aggressive and swore at him, while Mr Jones and Mr Wilson said the atmosphere then calmed down and “the immediate anger and confrontation had passed”.

“It was at this point that the defendant suddenly punched Mr Magdi without provocation” and he fell hard on to the pavement, Ms Packham said. It came without warning and he did not have time to try to break his fall.

Lambeth then cycled away with Mr Wilson.

Mr Jones and Mr Randles tried to assist Mr Magdi by putting him in the recovery position, but when it became clear he was unconscious and unresponsive, Mr Jones, too, panicked and fled the scene.

A passing doctor came to Mr Magdi’s aid and he was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital where a CT scan showed he had significant bleeding on his brain and he was transferred to Hurstwood Park.

Mr Magdi, who was of Egyptian origin, was operated on to remove a blood clot on November 13 but developed a chest infection and sepsis. A post mortem examination found he had a fracture to the back of his skull and bruising to the base of his spine, which was consistent with him falling back and hitting the pavement.

Ms Packham said the incident resulted in the police appealing for information through the media, which led to Mr Jones and Mr Wilson coming forward and giving statements.

They told police Lambeth cycled everywhere and disliked cars, even thinking that cars sometimes hit cyclists on purpose.

During mitigation Lewis Power QC, for the defence, said Lambeth, of Stafford Road, Brighton, had been wholly remorseful about the incident.