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Road rage mum freed from jail

PUBLISHED: 09:43 21 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:30 25 August 2010

A MOTHER who broke a pregnant woman s cheekbone in a road rage attack has been freed after successfully appealing against her jail sentence. Leanne Louise Smith, 24, of Cliffside Court, Dartford, got out of her car and punched the other woman through her

A MOTHER who broke a pregnant woman's cheekbone in a road rage attack has been freed after successfully appealing against her jail sentence.

Leanne Louise Smith, 24, of Cliffside Court, Dartford, got out of her car and punched the other woman through her open driver's side window as she waited at lights, because her victim had accidentally "cut her up" when changing lanes.

Smith was sentenced to nine months in jail at Woolwich Crown Court on November 9 last year, after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

That sentence was slashed to four months by Lord Justice Hooper, Mr Justice Wyn Williams and Judge Warwick McKinnon at London's Criminal Appeal Court, last Tuesday, meaning she will be freed forthwith, having served her sentence.

The court heard that, on March 16 last year, the 32-year-old victim, who was five months pregnant, was driving through Crayford when she pulled in front of Smith, causing her to slow down. The victim held her hand up in her rear view mirror in an apologetic manner and continued on her journey.

However, just under two miles further on, the victim reached Highland Road's junction with Broadway, Bexleyheath.

Smith, who was driving behind the woman, got out of her car at a red traffic light and began shouting and swearing and, through the victim's partially open window, punched her in the face.

The woman got out of her car and called police. At this point, Smith got back into her car and drove straight into the victim, pinning her to her own vehicle and causing more than £1,100 of damage. Smith then made off from the scene at speed.

The victim's unborn baby was found to be unharmed.

A week later, on March 22, the victim saw Smith in Dartford and followed her for approximately two hours, making a note of her car registration number which she passed to the police.

After her arrest, Smith told police that she had punched the pregnant woman during a "moment of madness, caused by concern for her young son who was in the car when the victim veered in front of her."

She also told officers that her driving into her victim had been purely accidental, a plea which was accepted by the prosecution.

Allowing the appeal today, Lord Justice Hooper said: "In the circumstances of road rage, it had to be a custodial sentence, but the level of sentence was significantly higher than it needed to be," the judge concluded.


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