A man who said he was cut-up on the road by a Mercedes-Benz test driver stormed round to the showroom, threatened staff – and drove his car at them.
Anthony Atkins, 37, who has a previous conviction for road rage, is facing jail after threatening to ‘knock out’ a senior manager.
Atkins had just collected two of his children from school and was on his way to pick up a third from nursery at about 3.30pm on Wednesday, March 28.
He told Macclesfield magistrates that a brand new E-Class Mercedes, driven by garage technician Andrew Bentley, pulled in front of him on London Road causing him to brake sharply.
Atkins is said to have shouted to Bentley ‘I know where you work’ and with his children in the car, rushed to the Mercedes-Benz showroom at Lyme Green Business Park.
Caroline Wynn, prosecuting, said to him: “You were so incensed you had to go straight to the showroom, never mind your child was waiting at nursery for you?”
Five staff from the business gave evidence that Atkins was shouting and swearing and refused to calm down.
Mr Bentley said he apologised to Atkins who appeared to accept it, but then became involved in a row with senior manager, Mark Kaye.
Atkins was eventually asked to leave the showroom which Mr Kaye said was very busy, with up to 16 customers as well as staff.
When Atkins refused to leave, the court heard Mr Kaye used his hands and the weight of his body to push him outside.
Fellow manager Neil Ferrier said: “We had to look after the needs of our customers – there were a lot arms waving around and a lot of raised voices. We’re a million-pound showroom – we can’t have people shouting and swearing.”
Roger Badman, cross-examining for Atkins, suggested he was thrown out because he wasn’t the normal clientele for the garage.
Mr Kaye said that once Atkins was outside ‘he used words to the effect of ‘I’ll knock you out’ or ‘I’ll smack you’ to which he had replied ‘Go on then’.
Neil Ferrier said: “At one point I thought he was going to go for Mark (Kaye)” and added that he feared for his own safety.
CCTV footage showed that when Atkins eventually left, he turned his car and drove at the men before swerving away at the last minute.
Atkins, of Moss Lane, Macclesfield, denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause fear of, or provoke, unlawful violence.
Atkins told the court he went to the showroom to make a genuine complaint. He didn’t recall making any threats but said he might have sworn outside.
He said: “I’ve accepted there was an argument and voices were raised.
“Next thing there were two or three members of staff trying to push me out of the showroom.
“I didn’t go in there to pick a fight – if I’d wanted a fight, I’d have had it at the roadside with the driver.
“I went there to make a genuine complaint. I don’t expect to go to a showroom and be pushed out.”
However, the magistrates called his evidence vague and contradictory.
Chairman of the bench Mark Lenderyou said: “You were agitated on arrival at the showroom, foul and abusive language was used.
You made threats, particularly towards Mark Kaye.
“You drove your car towards them with the intention to cause them fear of violence and they thought that that violence would be carried out.”
After finding Atkins guilty he said: “Due to the seriousness of this matter, particularly the use of your vehicle during the incident, means our guidelines indicate this matter has crossed the custody threshold.”
The case was adjourned until October 18 for a pre-sentence report.
Atkins was convicted of the same offence in 2010 when he abused a member of staff at road works because he was annoyed at the time the temporary traffic lights took to change.