M-way road rage attacker was in '˜battle scenario'

A soldier suffering from combat stress believed he was in a battle when he committed a road rage attack on the motorway.

Monday, 28th March 2016, 6:23 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 5:00 am

Deron Stapleton terrified a lone 22-year-old woman driver by repeatedly swerving towards her trying to shunt her off the M55 at Kirkham.

He then chased her up a slip road and when she stopped, he marched towards her, shouting: “Do you want to kick off with me.”

A man and his girlfriend who stopped to intervene had their car window kicked in by Stapleton.

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The soldier then hit the man in the face and fought with him in the middle of the road.

A police officer in a Land Rover tried to stop Stapleton but he crashed his BMW into the police Land Rover and sped off.

When cornered in a dead end the soldier ran at an policeman repeatedly shouting “shoot me.”

Stapleton, 34, a soldier with the Second Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, who is based at Weeton Army Camp, Weeton, near Kirkham, and gave his address as Sycamore Drive, Wesham, pleaded guilty to assault, threatening behaviour, failing to stop for a police officer, not stopping after an accident and failing to provide a breath specimen for alcohol testing.

He was sentenced to a community order with up to 40 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service, banned from driving for 12 months fined £50 and ordered to pay £500 each to his two road rage civilian victims by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Marilyn Padgett, told him: “I think you would agree your woman victim is now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder – something you know about.”

Adrian Hollamby, said the incident happened on the evening of July 31.

The woman was driving along in the inside lane ofthe M55 when a stone hit her window. She tried to move into the middle lane, but Stapleton refused to let her in.

He kept swerving towards her, sounding his horn and trying to push her car towards the side of the motorway. She was so frightened she exited late from the slip road and Stapleton swerved across the chevrons to follow her.

When arrested Stapleton struggled so hard police reinforcements had to be called for.

Kathryn Jamieson-Sinclair, defending, said her client had been in the Army for 16 years and seen horrific things.

He had been diagnosed with Combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and tried to commit suicide five times.

Just before the incident Stapleton’s medication had been radically changed and this increased his PTSD.

He believed his girlfriend was spying on him for the Taliban and that there were snipers targeting him from rooftops.

He could remember nothing of the road rage incident, but believed he must have reverted to a “battle scenario” and thought he was under threat.