Road rage yob threatened dad with rusty hammer on Queens Drive

A road rage yob brandished a rusty hammer at an off-duty police officer as his daughter screamed.

Stephen Mullin "cut up" John Seddon and his daughter when they were driving on Queens Drive in West Derby.

The officer swore at Mullin, who then parked in front of them to prevent them from leaving and got out his car with a hammer in his hand.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the 24-year-old shouted "COME ON THEN" as he held the hammer over his head.

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In a statement the officer's daughter said she "thought he was going to kill her father".

Nick Cockrell, prosecuting, said: "These matters go back December 21, 2019, and initially arose out of what is perhaps colloquially known as a road rage incident."

He explained John Seddon had picked up his adult daughter from her boyfriend's house in Anfield.

Mr Cockrell said they were driving along Queens Drive at the junction near to The Jolly Miller pub in West Derby.

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He said: "There was a dispute about the standard of driving between two road users."

The judge, Recorder Ben Douglas-Jones QC, confirmed: "The defendant drives the vehicle so as to cut up the vehicle driven by Mr Seddon" after which he "swears at the defendant and that prompts what we've described as a road rage incident".

Mr Seddon "sounded his horn for about 10 seconds" and Mullin said "what's your problem" to which Mr Seddon replied "lad who you f***ing talking to" adding "you f***ing b****nd".

Mullin then drove in front of Seddon and exited his car.

Mr Cockrell said Mr Seddon "initially thought he was coming to continue the argument, then noticed in his right hand a rusty coloured hammer".

He "raised the hammer as if to act" and shouted "Come on then lad".

Mr Cockrell said: "His daughter was screaming, scared about what was going to happen."

The court heard that after returning to his car Seddon drove away and in a statement his daughter said: "She had never been so scared in her life."

Around three hours later Mullin was arrested and after his vehicle was searched where police discovered the hammer and a kitchen knife between seven and eight inches long.

Mullin has two previous convictions for three offences which date back to 2015 and relate to domestic violence.

Jason Smith, defending, said: "We have a man who had been able to turn his life around and at the present moment of time is leading a positive, productive life."

Mr Smith explained that since the offences in 2019 Mullin had become a father to a three-month-old baby.

He explained that the delay in the case was a "very powerful indicator of the progress" Mullin has made.

Mr Smith said: "14 months ago we were dealing with a man with anxiety and depression driving around the city attempting to deal with the depression, clearly in such a state as was dangerous."

He added there is "no explanation" for Mullin's conduct as a result of the offence.

Mr Smith said: "He accepts readily he should be thoroughly ashamed and disgusted at his behaviour."

Since the offences Mullin has found employment and is receiving treatment for his mental health problems, which Mr Smith said showed he was capable of rehabilitation.

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He added that he has had the prosecution "hanging over his head" as a result of the delay.

Mullin, of Calder Avenue, Ormskirk, admitted affray, possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon.

The judge said he did not feel the prison sentence could be suspended.

Recorder Douglas-Jones said: "In my judgement it is not possible to suspend the sentence.

"The appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody for such a terrifying road rage incident."

The judge said: "You drove your car in front of him preventing him from driving away. You then took a hammer, got out of the car and walked to the officer's side of the vehicle.

"Imagine how terrifying that must have been."

The judge noted that the officer's adult daughter was "petrified" and "began to cry and indeed weep".

The woman had described how Mullin had been "four inches from the car" and "thought he was going to kill her father" with the "raised hammer in hand as if you were going to attack him".

The judge said the offences were aggravated by his previous convictions which are "public order offences".

Recorder Douglas-Jones said he took into account the delay as well as Mullin's mitigation, character references and the delay in proceedings.

Mullin was jailed for one year.