A CHARD man who tailgated another car at speeds of up to 80mph in a built-up area near a school eventually crashed into it and then threatened him with a sharpened screwdriver.

Michael Mullins was angry after claiming the other driver had been texting his partner, and when he confronted him in the street waving the weapon the victim grabbed a metal bar from his boot in retaliation.

When the defendant was later questioned by police he admitted he had driven “like a t**t” and accepted he “went mad” when he jumped out of his car and went to have a fight.

Mullins, 26, of Henson Park, pleaded not guilty to driving a vehicle dangerously on Henson Chard in Chard on May 12.

He also denied using towards Antonio Gray threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause him to believe that immediate unlawful violence would be used against him.

However he failed to turn up at court for the trial and the matter was found proved against him in his absence.

Prosecutor Ben Winzar said that the victim Antonio Gray was driving his vehicle in Avishayes Road in Chard at 2.45pm when the defendant drove up behind him in his silver Audi and if he was any closer he would have been in contact with him.

“On his own admission during interview Mullins reached speeds of up to 80mph, and when the victim turned onto Fairway Rise there was a large speed bump in the road near a school,” he said.

“Mullins came round the corner at 20mph on the wrong side of the road and drove into the rear of Mr Gray’s vehicle and there was a large shunt which forced his car down the road.

“The defendant followed him and stopped his car in the middle of the road with his tyres coming to a screeching halt and he then got out of his car and began to walk towards the complainant.

“When Mullins exited his vehicle he was holding a screwdriver which appeared to have been sharpened and his demeanour was aggressive and threatening.

“He was holding it by his chest, and on seeing it Mr Gray went to his vehicle and armed himself with a metal bar in self defence.

“The defendant then returned to his vehicle and there was no physical contact.”

An independent witness who was visiting her mother at the time saw the incident unfolding and said the defendant was the aggressor.

During interview Mullins said there were issues between him and the victim because Mr Gray had been texting his girlfriend.

“He claimed that Mr Gray was racing but accepted that he drove like a tw*t and admitted colliding with the rear of his car because he couldn’t stop,” said Mr Winzar.

“After the collision he accepted he went mad and jumped out of the car in order to have a fight and also accepted he may have scared everyone else in the street by his actions.”

Giving evidence, Mr Gray said that after Mullins had shunted into the rear of his car he jumped out and started edging towards him and he was “proper angry.”

“He was holding a screwdriver which had been sharpened and was waving it up and down and pointing it towards me,” he said.

“It made me feel scared so I then got out the jack handle from my car to protect myself and Mullins was calling me abusive names.

“He was saying that I had been messaging his missus for months and his chest was pumped out like in a fighting stance.”

The magistrates found Mullins guilty of both offences in his absence saying he had committed both offences in the immediate vicinity of a school and while waving a sharpened screwdriver.

They also found that he had driven dangerously and that he was also guilty of the public order offence.

The defendant attended court again three days later for sentencing but pleaded not guilty to failing to surrender to bail and was told to produce evidence on the next occasion.

In the meantime everything was adjourned until January 5 for sentencing and Mullins was released on bail with conditions not to contact the victim and one other named witness directly or indirectly.