Classic car restorer viciously attacked in his workshop by a dissatisfied customer from Middleton Cheney

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The attacker, who was given a suspended prison sentence, ran a neighbouring business and was unhappy about some welding work

A classic car restorer was viciously attacked in his workshop by a dissatisfied customer who ran a neighbouring business during a dispute over some welding work.

And 66-year-old Aston Martin specialist Ian Cornick was left injured and shaken by the unprovoked and sustained attack on him, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.

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His attacker Errol Kerr was ordered to pay him £500 in compensation after pleading guilty to assaulting him causing him actual bodily harm.

Errol Kerr.Errol Kerr.
Errol Kerr.

Kerr (62) of Braggintons Lane, Middleton Cheney, was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work after being given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months.

Prosecutor Andrew Tucker said that in July last year Kerr had ‘launched an entirely unprovoked assault’ on Mr Cornick, who was a classic car restorer with a workshop on a farm in Kineton.

That was next-door to a workshop occupied by Kerr for his own business, and in the early part of last year Mr Cornick carried out some work on Kerr’s classic Triumph Vitesse.

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It was returned to Kerr and remained in his workshop, but in July Kerr asked him to come and look at the car again.

He said Mr Cornick had not finished some welding in the boot, and Mr Cornick accepted that was justified.

But Kerr demanded it be completed that week, and became angry when Mr Cornick said he could not do so because of holiday arrangements, threatening: “Don’t mess with me or you’ll regret it.”

Mr Cornick sensibly walked away, and on July 15 sent Kerr a letter asking for an apology for his outburst.

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The next day Kerr went to Mr Cornick’s workshop, and a heated argument took place after Mr Cornick repeated that he was about to go on holiday and could not do the work immediately.

“During the course of that Mr Cornick raised his finger, pointing at Kerr, who said ‘If you touch me, that’s assault,’ and let fly 12 to 13 punches at Mr Cornick’s face and body.

“Mr Cornick fell, and was left on the floor dazed and injured. Fortunately a young lady who was a part-time employee happened to be there and saw the attack and was able to raise the alarm,” said Mr Tucker.

Mr Cornick was taken by ambulance to hospital where he was treated for injuries including cuts to his mouth and head.

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But when Kerr was arrested he denied being the aggressor and claimed he had acted in self-defence, Mr Tucker added.

Mr Cornick told the court he had been restoring classic cars since 1974 and took over a garage which specialised in post-war Aston Martins, with rich customers who included celebrities.

A ‘consummate professional in my field,’ he later sold the business to operate as a sole trader based at the Kineton farm - for a less stressful life.

And of the incident, he said: “The attack by Mr Kerr came as a complete shock. It is completely unacceptable to use physical violence as a last measure, let alone as a first resort.

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“Given my poor health, he could have killed me. The crazed look in his eyes of pure evil will remain with me.”

Sarah McIntyre, defending, argued: “In my submission it was not a rain of punches, but certainly a punch which caused the injuries. The defence would say it was not a sustained assault.

“There is remorse shown in the pre-sentence report. He is a man who is deeply ashamed for the events of that day.”

Sentencing Kerr, Judge Anthony Potter told him: “I deal with you for a disgraceful incident of violence that you carried out in July of last year.

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“I read you are deeply ashamed of what you did – and so you should be. It seems you had lost your temper and were simply not listening to what he had to say.

“I am prepared to accept there is some remorse, but it was a sustained piece of violence.

“He was left with a very unsightly bruise which extended from his chin all the way down his neck. It’s not just the physical impact, but it is the emotional impact as well.”