Off-duty police officer attacked by dental nurse on motorway

The case was heard at Falkirk Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin
The case was heard at Falkirk Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin
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A young dental nurse who ran an off-duty policewoman off the road and attacked her on the hard shoulder has sworn to fight to clear her name.

Ashleigh Bannatyne, of Wishaw, Lanarkshire, who lost her job and could be permanently struck off after the motorway road rage incident said she was considering an appeal after remarks made by the sheriff who found her guilty appeared to partly absolve her from blame.

She was sentenced to carry out 200 hours’ community service, banned from driving for nine months, and ordered to re-sit her test before getting back behind the wheel after the incident on the busy M876 near Larbert, Stirlingshire, on 3 December, 2014.

Bannatyne, 22, tangled with Sergeant Jacqueline Curson as the officer was on her way to a funeral.

She said in evidence that Sgt Curson’s black Mercedes had pulled in front of her Vauxhall Corsa and that the 49-year-old officer had been “pointing at her and laughing”.

Bannatyne then swerved in front of Sgt Curson and braked simultaneously, causing a collision that forced the Mercedes off the road, on to the hard shoulder. She then got out and stormed up to the officer, pulled her hair and punched and kicked her. Banntyne only stopped when she noticed Sgt Curson’s police ID.

At Falkirk Sheriff Court, Sheriff Linda Smith told Bannatyne’s lawyer: “I must say it’s not my impression that she was the instigator in this. I’m not saying that Jacqueline Curson was, but your client found herself in a situation where she felt she was the victim of road rage.”

Sgt Curson, 49, described the incident as “terrifying”, and said: “She came over, there was an exchange of words, then she was pulling me out of the door, and standing in the door punching me and kicking me.

She ended up with bruising round her nose and eye, finger marks on her arm where Bannatyne had grabbed her, and bruises on her arms and legs where the younger woman had kicked her.

By chance the incident was seen by another off-duty officer, Pc Ian Kyle, who was driving to work.

Bannatyne, who had pleaded not guilty to assault and dangerous driving, was found guilty in March and appeared for sentence yesterday.