A FURIOUS driver stabbed a man in the face with a pen after he complained about him hurtling up a narrow street where children were playing.

Angry Christopher Astley, who was banned from driving, then did a u-turn and sped towards neighbours standing on the pavement. He only avoided hitting them after his car smashed into a lamppost that stood in the way.

At Bolton Crown Court the Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh jailed 35-year-old Astley for three years, telling him: “You caused a gross and obvious danger to people in the street, including children.

"This was an appalling piece of driving and an appalling incident in which intentional violence was used by you against entirely innocent members of the public.”

Richard English, prosecuting told how, just before 5pm on April 20 last year, neighbours living in Shrewsbury Road, Heaton, were socialising in the front gardens of the 20mph limit street while their children played in the road

“It’s a narrow street with cars parked both sides and only space for one car to drive up or down at any one time, “ said Mr English.

This Is Lancashire: Shrewsbury RoadShrewsbury Road

But as the children played, a VW Golf, with Astley at the wheel, sped up the road at an estimated 50mph.

Several neighbours shouted at him, pointing out there were children around but he replied threatening to stab them and yelled: “Get the f***ing kids off the street.”

When the car stopped, Natasha Green went up to the vehicle and told his driving had been “appalling” but he responded by jabbing a pen towards her face.

"Luckily Miss Green moved backwards quickly otherwise she would have been stabbed," said Mr English.

Concerned by the commotion, Miss Green's father, Andrew Green also remonstrated with him and he too was attacked with the pen, which struck him on the cheek.

"The stab was so forceful that it is described as being lodged in Mr Green's face," said Mr English.

Astley grappled with his victim, trapping his head in the partially open car window and driving off almost crushing him between a stationary parked car.

Mr Green only managed to free himself by punching window, forcing Astley to let go.

But the driver had still not had enough, did a u-turn and headed back in the direction of the pavement where the Greens and two others were standing.

"However, there was a lamppost between them and the defendant which he hit at speed, causing the vehicle to momentarily become stuck," said Mr English.

Astley, who had a passenger with him, drove off, swerving from side to side, hitting parked cars as he went and forcing one woman to jump out of the way.

The damaged car, which did not belong to Astley, was later found on Devonshire Road with empty alcohol bottles inside.

It statements, witnesses said they had been terrified, with one woman saying she thought she was going to die as his car hurtled towards her.

Astley, of South Street, Bolton, was arrested three weeks later and initially claimed a friend had been driving.

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He pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm, driving whilst banned, dangerous driving, three assaults, criminal damage and having no insurance.

Verity Quaite, defending, said Astley had not realised children were in the street.

"He has children himself and he says that has been playing on his mind," she said, adding that Astley's inability to abstain from alcohol is at the root of his offending.

Once he is released from prison Astley remains banned from driving for four years.

Miss Green, who was in court for the sentence described it as a "joke", considering his previous record for driving offences, including dangerous driving.

"He could have killed a child, " she said.

"It was a very scary day, especially when he was turning round and coming back at you."