‘I’ll kill you’: Veteran slapped man in road rage explosion
A Regents Park army veteran slapped an elderly man in the face and threatened to kill him during a road rage incident in October, the Beenleigh Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday.
Regents Park man Nicholas Huw Puleston Long, 35, was charged with serious assault of a person over the age of 60 when an angry hand gesture triggered his post traumatic stress disorder.
The court heard Long was driving the wrong way out of a carpark at Browns Plains when a 71-year-old man in a nearby car "gesticulated" towards him.
Long saw red, exited his vehicle and stormed up to the victim's car.
He struck the man in the face through the open car window, hitting him in the upper lip and causing a small laceration, pain and swelling.
"But you didn't leave it there," Magistrate Louise Shephard said.
"(The police) say you went further and said, 'If I see you on the road, I'll kill you'."
The court heard Long's disproportionate response was an automatic reaction born from his extensive army training, learned over 12 years of active service.
Defence lawyer Patrick Horgan of Cridland & Hua Lawyers told the court his client was deployed on multiple tours of south east Asia before he was discharged in 2019 due to both physical and mental illness.
"This happens unfortunately far too often," Mr Horgan said.
"(Men and women) serve their country and then they're left with nothing but PTSD and other varying illnesses."
Mr Horgan said Long made several significant steps to take control of his mental health immediately following the October arrest, citing a lengthy hospital stay and active engagement in an anger management course.
"He was under immense stress at the time … and he was at the end of his tether," Mr Horgan said, noting Long had sent a letter of apology through police to the victim.
"He would do whatever he could to take that action back."
Long was further charged with producing and possessing cannabis when a sophisticated set up was found during a search of his home.
The drug was used to self-medicate serious and chronic pain sustained during Long's service, and he has since gained access to legal sources of medicinal cannabis.
Long pleaded guilty to a total of five charges and was sentenced to 12 months probation.
No convictions were recorded.
Originally published as 'I'll kill you': Army veteran slapped old man in road rage explosion