A ROAD rage motorist strangled and punched a young mother in the face after she recorded his “appallingly dangerous driving” on the M4 through Gwent.

Clifford Kay, 51, of Penygraig Terrace, Cwmfields, Pontypool, throttled courier Jayde Clowting during the horrifying incident on a slip road in Newport.

The defendant had initially been charged with robbery and threats to kill after he beat his victim up and stole her dashcam which contained the footage.

The CPS later accepted Kay’s guilty pleas to the less serious offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and theft entered on the day of his trial.

The judge, Recorder Mark Powell QC, criticised the decision not to prosecute the defendant for dangerous driving.

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Miss Clowting first noticed Kay behind her on the Prince of Wales Bridge when she was driving her van and he was in a Mercedes 4x4.

Cardiff Crown Court heard how he had been flashing his lights and then later prevented her from overtaking him by increasing his speed.

Prosecutor Martha Smith-Higgins said: “It was because she was concerned about the defendant’s manner of driving that she took her dashcam which had been fitted to the front of her windscreen and held it to film him.”

Kay was then described as “slamming on his brakes” in the righthand lane which caused Miss Clowting to perform an emergency stop.

“The defendant drove off but Miss Clowting again wanted to capture the defendant’s driving and his registration number and she followed his vehicle,” Miss Smith-Higgins said.

“She had intended on leaving at Junction 25a but instead followed the defendant as he left on Junction 25.

“It was as he left his junction that Miss Clowting drove behind him and the defendant once again applied his brakes.”

The victim was again forced into an emergency stop before Kay got out of his 4x4 and became "verbally abusive”.

Miss Smith told the court: “The defendant shouted, ‘How dare you ******* film me, you ****. I will kill you’.

“He then opened the driver’s door and she told the defendant to go away and she tried to push him away.

“The defendant grabbed her to the neck and began punching her a number of times to the head.

“She describes feeling those punches land to her face and the top of her head.”

Miss Smith-Higgins added: “The defendant was behind her and put both arms around her neck in what she describes as a chokehold and describes that she couldn’t breathe as the defendant held her throat tightly for five to 10 seconds.”

The complainant managed to free herself before Kay drove off after taking her dashcam.

The offences took place just after 1pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

Miss Clowting suffered cuts to her eye and chin and marks to her neck.

In a victim personal statement, she said: “He was strangling me and it seemed to be going on forever and I could feel myself going weaker and weaker, that was scariest the bit of it all by far.

“I couldn’t stop thinking about my young daughter.”

She added how she didn’t want the defendant to go to prison for a long time but wanted an apology.

Kay has one previous conviction for public disorder.

Kate Roxburgh, representing the defendant, said he had been sectioned following these offences and spent time being treated at a psychiatric hospital.

Kay has also since being diagnosed with autism.

His barrister added: “He offers an unreserved apology to the victim.”

Recorder Powell told the defendant his driving had been “appallingly dangerous”.

He added: “Quite why nobody saw it fit to charge you with dangerous driving, I have no idea.”

Kay was told if it had not been for Miss Clowting’s words of mercy in her victim personal statement, he would be going straight to prison.

He was jailed for 18 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement, pay £200 compensation and a £156 surcharge.