A ROAD rage teenage driver repeatedly targeted a cyclist and left him fearing for his life.

Burnley Crown Court heard how unbeknown to Benjamin Harrison, 18, his victim was police inspector Martin Melvin.

Nine times he almost mowed down DI Melvin, aiming for him on the pavement, striking his handle-bars, forcing him off his bike into trees, threatening to kill him and hurling stones and coins at him.

The victim had no escape route and had no choice but to continue his journey on the almost deserted road, the court heard.

Mr Melvin, who had just left Burnley police station, arrived at his home 20 minutes after his prolonged ordeal visibly shaking.

He had taken Harrison’s registration number and the defendant was later arrested.

Harrison, of Low Bank, Burnley, admitted dangerous driving in Accrington Road, Burnley, and common assault.

Recorder Graham Wood, QC, who said Mr Melvin was a “bit of an unfortunate choice of victim”, gave him nine months in jail, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and 100 hours unpaid work. He was banned from driving for two years and must pay £750 costs.

Recorder Wood told the defendant he had been “very fortunate indeed” to keep his freedom and warned him not to let his family and himself down.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Harrison did not know his victim was a detective inspector and behaved as he did because his victim was a cyclist.

DI Melvin, in his cycling gear and helmet, was travelling from Burnley towards Accrington on the evening of July 3, when Harrison pulled alongside him, sounded his horn and began to shout loudly.

During the incident Harrison came into contact with the victim’s handlebars, forced him to veer on the grass verge, waved a clenched fist towards DI Melvin and shouted: “Get off the road. I will run you off the road. I will kill you. Get off the road.”

He also sounded his horn repeatedly, threw stones and drove straight at the victim from about 10 yards in front of him.

The prosecutor said the defendant was arrested at his parents’ home.

He asked officers: “Can I not just apologise?”

Harrison was questioned twice but was not entirely frank on either occasion, the court was told.

In his first interview, he clai-med the cyclist made a gesture and at first he thought it was someone he knew.

The hearing heard how in his second interview, Harrison made further admissions and said he had turned round twice.