Former England U17s footballer jailed for road rage attack on woman

A former England Under-17s footballer convicted of a road rage attack on a female friend after she accidentally crashed into his car has been jailed for nine months.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 3:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 5:00 pm
Former England Under-17s footballer Riccardo Calder, 22, (left) arrives at Birmingham Crown Court, where he was jailed for nine months following a road rage attack on a female friend after she accidentally crashed into his car. Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Former England Under-17s footballer Riccardo Calder, 22, (left) arrives at Birmingham Crown Court, where he was jailed for nine months following a road rage attack on a female friend after she accidentally crashed into his car. Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

Riccardo Calder, who was once on Aston Villa's books but was latterly with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, was convicted of assault occasioning actually bodily harm after a trial in November.

His barrister told the court Calder was immediately sacked from his £600-a-week job by the Scottish Championship side when he was convicted.

On Wednesday, he was jailed for what the sentencing judge called a "complete and utter loss of temper" in a three-minute attack.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Former England Under-17s footballer Riccardo Calder, 22, (left) arrives at Birmingham Crown Court, where he was jailed for nine months following a road rage attack on a female friend after she accidentally crashed into his car. Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

CCTV played at the trial showed him confronting the woman in the car park of The Horseshoe pub in Kings Heath, Birmingham, shortly after 4am on May 7.

In what the judge described as a "repeated and sustained attack", Calder rained punches through the victim's open window before kicking her.

At one stage, he partially dragged the student nurse from her car, threw her forcefully back into the driver's seat, pulling off one of her shoes and throwing it back into the vehicle.

The victim, 24, who knew Calder and had in the past been to Scotland to see him, described pleading with him during the assault "you're going to kill me".

Calder, 22, of Denholme Grove, Kings Heath, also took the victim's house and car keys and mobile phone, leaving her to walk home.

The items were later returned through an acquaintance.

The mother-of-one suffered two black eyes, cuts and bruises and a fractured thumb, which needed hospital treatment, the court heard.

She later sent text messages to a mutual friend in which she asked for £5,000 not to go to the police.

The messages read: "I do know that he's going to have a good life ahead of him and do know this was a mistake. But what he's done is still out of order and he can't get away with it."

Calder rang the police alleging that a woman was trying to get compensation out of him by falsely claiming he had attacked her.

Sentencing him at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Mark Wall QC told him: "I have no doubt that telephone call was made so you could get your defence in.

"I do not accept that her actions in colliding with your car were any justification for what was a complete and utter loss of temper.

"I have considered whether I can suspend your sentence, and I cannot.

"There are too many aggravating features and the complete loss of temper, which means this is a lesson that can only be properly taught through immediate custody."

Calder and the woman, who knew each other as friends, met by chance after a night clubbing in Birmingham on Sunday May 6.

The pair agreed to go to another nightspot, in separate vehicles, but the woman then "bumped into the defendant's car", prosecutor Mark Phillips told the court.

The woman continued driving, believing the "very minor collision" could be sorted out when they arrived at their destination.

Mr Phillips added: "Clearly the defendant didn't take the same view and flashed her to pull over.

"Shortly afterwards, she did pull over, in a car park."

Cameras showed both vehicles pulling up and Calder walking to the open driver's side window before punching out at her.

The woman, who works at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, reversed "in a panic", then drove forwards into the back of Calder's white Mercedes saloon, hitting it for a second time.

Calder then launched his assault on the woman, before leaving her, as the judge described, "alone at night, on a car park".

Abdul Iqbal QC, in mitigation, said Calder made four appearances for England Under-17s, enjoyed successful stints at Aston Villa, Dundee and Doncaster Rovers, and had been on Inverness Caledonian Thistle's books for 18 months.

He added: "He had a promising career having scored goals and played in defence. His contract was terminated immediately by the club upon conviction.

"This young man, who had that career ahead of him, now finds himself in a position where that footballing career is very uncertain indeed.

"It's unlikely any professional football club will entertain seriously any application for him to join them.

"Whatever the sentence, this young man has really fallen a very long way indeed."

Members of Calder's family, including his mother, were in court for sentencing and wept as he was taken to the cells.