Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Road rage woman could avoid jail sentence if she can prove knitting prowess

A woman from Dundee, Scotland, has been given six months to knit her way out of a prison sen­tence. The unusual chal­lenge was laid down to An­gela McCabe af­ter she pleaded guilty to a road rage at­tack. The 47-year-old ad­mit­ted box­ing-in her vic­tim’s car, haul­ing open her driver’s side door and punch­ing her in the face fol­low­ing an ar­gu­ment over her driv­ing. McCabe, how­ever, de­nied tail­ing her vic­tim for sev­eral miles through the city’s streets, claim­ing that the pur­suit had been a co­in­ci­dence and that she was sim­ply a “keen knit­ter” who hap­pened to have been driv­ing to a spe­cial­ist wool shop near to where the as­sault took place.

Leap­ing on that claim, Sher­iff John Raf­ferty told her she must re­turn to Dundee Sher­iff Court in De­cem­ber hav­ing knit­ted nu­mer­ous items ca­pa­ble of be­ing sold in char­ity shops to raise money for good causes. He said her abil­ity and will­ing­ness to do so could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween prison and a sen­tence of com­mu­nity ser­vice. A road rage woman who punched a mo­torist across the face has been told her only hope of avoid­ing prison is to prove she is an ex­pert knit­ter. Amanda McCabe tailed her vic­tim, Claire Smith, for sev­eral miles be­fore box­ing her in, haul­ing open her driver’s side door and punch­ing her. At Dundee Sher­iff Court, McCabe claimed the pur­suit was a sim­ple co­in­ci­dence, as she was a “keen knit­ter” and planned to visit a wool shop near to where the as­sault took place.

On hear­ing that, Sher­iff Raf­ferty laid down a chal­lenge – one that he said could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween lib­erty and prison. He told McCabe she would re­turn to court on De­cem­ber 14 with “mul­ti­ple knit­ted items” ca­pa­ble of be­ing sold in a char­ity shop. De­pute Fis­cal John Adams said Ms Smith and a friend had been driv­ing along the Kingsway when the ac­cused en­tered from a slip road. “Ms Smith was not very im­pressed with the ac­cused’s driv­ing and made her feel­ings known,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately this led to the ac­cused fol­low­ing Ms Smith for around five to 10 min­utes.” When Ms Smith took a wrong turn and en­tered a car park to per­form a U-turn, McCabe pounced. She boxed-in her car and leapt from her driver’s seat be­fore open­ing her door and punch­ing her once on the face. Ms Smith was left with a red mark but did not re­quire med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

So­lic­i­tor Jim Laverty told the court: “She is ut­terly ashamed of her­self and says that it was sim­ply a loss of con­trol. As for fol­low­ing the com­plainer, she in­di­cates that Cardean Street was her in­tended jour­ney’s end. She is a keen knit­ter and a nearby spe­cial­ist wool shop was her des­ti­na­tion...” Sher­iff Raf­ferty told McCabe: “This was a quite shock­ing in­ci­dent. You went in the same di­rec­tion as your vic­tim, at the very least, and then went to her car door and as­saulted her, though I ac­cept that it was out of char­ac­ter. If you are a skilled knit­ter then I am sure that you could pro­duce some goods for char­ity. You will bring to court sev­eral items that you have knit­ted that you are pre­pared to do­nate to a char­ity shop. You have com­mit­ted se­ri­ous of­fences but you have a chance to do some­thing use­ful with your time. Take this chance.” McCabe ad­mit­ted as­sault­ing Claire Smith on Jan­uary 8 this year by punch­ing her on the head. Sen­tence was de­ferred un­til De­cem­ber for her to be of good be­hav­iour and to pro­duce the knit­ted items.

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