Bristol bus driver Gavin Hill who drove into cyclist jailed

Gavin Hill, 29, deliberately drove his bus at Phillip Mead, the court heard

A bus driver who deliberately knocked a cyclist down in Bristol using his bus "as a weapon" has been jailed.

Gavin Hill, 29, of Frome, previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing grievous bodily harm.

Bristol Crown Court heard that after an altercation, Hill deliberately knocked Phillip Mead off his bike by swerving the bus into him.

Sentencing Hill to 17 months in jail, Judge Mark Horton said his action "was not an accident".

"You used the bus as a weapon to bully and intimidate Mr Mead," he added.

Gavin Hill Hill's defence said the collision happened in a "moment of madness"

Hill was told he would serve half his sentence before being considered for release on licence.

Continued to argue

The court was told the incident started on the morning of 5 April 2011 when Hill had driven too close to Mr Mead on the nearby St James Barton roundabout.

Moments later the bus stopped outside Bristol Magistrates' Court and Mr Mead propped his bike against the front of the vehicle.

He continued to argue with Hill, who remained in his cab.

The court was played CCTV footage which showed Mr Mead cycle off. Moments later the footage showed the bus overtaking him before sharply swerving to the left knocking the cyclist over.

Mr Mead suffered a broken leg and his bike was crushed.

The court was told Hill, a qualified driver with 10 years' experience, was previously of excellent character and his defence said the collision happened in "a moment of madness".

Gerald Creed, managing director of Bugler Coaches, said Hill had been sacked by the company on the day the incident happened.

He added that the firm's sympathies lay with Mr Mead.

Martin McDonnell, from Bristol Cycling Campaign, said incidents like this were happening far too often.

"It's about time cyclists were treated as human beings and not just flesh," he said.

"As a group we're calling on Bristol City Council to do more to increase cycle safety in the city and to pledge their support to the Times Safer Cycling campaign," he added.

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