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Woman who drove into a parking warden is spared jail
1:45pm Friday 13th April 2012 in News
A WOMAN deliberately drove into a traffic warden after taking offence at being given a parking ticket.
Raquel Reid, 23, hit warden Chelsea Cummings in the knee with her VW Polo which she had left in a no-parking zone of a car park.
Reid, who had racked up £2,000-worth of tickets for parking illegally near her home, had already been jailed for 14 months last year for driving at her boyfriend.
But a judge spared her a return to prison because she had only recently been released.
Reid was on bail awaiting trial for the incident with her boyfriend when she hit Miss Cummins on February 7 last year, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.
Kim Irving, prosecuting, said Miss Cummings and a male colleague had been checking vehicles in Altrincham's Regent Road car park when they spotted the Polo.
The man was taking the registration number and details when Reid, of nearby Chapel Court, started 'shouting and screaming' at them.
She jumped into the car and drove off, narrowly missing the man before driving directly at Miss Cummings, hitting her left knee, the court heard. Despite being in shock and pain, the warden had the presence of mind to take a photo of the car.
The court was told she was off work for a week because of the injury - and spent a further week on light duties when she returned.
Miss Cummings also told police she suffered worry and anxiety and had been frightened of a further confrontation with Reid, in case she attacked her again.
When Reid, an insurance assessor, was arrested, she admitted being parked illegally and said she had lost her temper because the wardens would not stop writing out a ticket.
She had initially pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving, but admitted it before going to trial.
But she defended her actions, saying: "I saw him writing out the ticket and I was upset. I hadn't even been there five minutes."
Reid, who was a student and on her way to her college course at the time of the incident, denied she had intended to hit the warden.
She said: "Under no circumstances did I drive my car at that lady."
Sentencing, Judge Bernard Lever told her: "You have an interesting record which clearly shows you are a young woman who has the notion that the law doesn't apply to you. What is terrifying, however, is that when you are behind the wheel of a car, you have the same notion."
Reid was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years, 12 months supervision by the Probation Service, and made the subject of a nightly curfew by electronic tagging for 22 weeks.
She must also attend a special women's course designed to motivate her - and she was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Miss Cummings.
She has been disqualified from driving for two years, and must take an extended driving test before re-applying for her licence.
Judge Lever said: "It is only because you have just served a 14-month sentence, and pleaded guilty, that I am not giving you immediate custody. Otherwise, I would have had no hesitation in sending you down for this most serious offence of driving at a public official."
Speaking after the hearing, Reid said: "I am a very loving and caring person.
"I have lived in Altrincham for four years and I've never ever caused any harm to any member of the public. I get on with everybody in the area."
She has sold the car to help pay off her parking ticket debts.