A DAD convicted of spitting at a woman in a road rage incident in Chester claimed he had actually just sneezed on her.

Michael Taylor, 43, confronted Sylvie Hills and her husband Frances in Sainsbury's car park, Great Boughton, after a disagreement about right-of-way on a nearby mini-roundabout.

Insults were exchanged before the victim claims Taylor spat at her through her car window at around 2.30pm on April 2 last year.

Chester Magistrates Court also heard the defendant had raised his fist to Mr Hills, who believed he was going to lash out in anger.

Taylor, who has worked as a team leader at Airbus for 21 years, maintained he had been off sick that day with flu and in fact only sneezed on Mrs Hills.

However, he was convicted of one count of assault by beating and one of common assault following a trial on January 8 this year.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders sentenced him today (Wednesday, January 31) to a 12-month community order to include 150 hours of unpaid work.

Taylor, of Wayside Court, Mickle Trafford, must also fork out £620 in court costs as well as an £85 victim surcharge and £100 in compensation to Mrs Hills.

Furthermore, the judge disqualified him from driving for 28 days.

He told Taylor: “You have got to understand that this sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. You need to reflect on that before you get behind the wheel again.”

Outlining the case, prosecutor Rob Youds told the court Mrs Hills and her husband had visited Pets at Home on Caldy Valley Road before getting into their car and approaching the mini-roundabout.

“She had right-of-way and was about to enter the roundabout when the defendant's vehicle approached from the left causing her to slam on her brakes,” Mr Youds said.

They exchanged words and Taylor then followed the couple into the supermarket car park, parked next to them and got out of his car.

He approached the passenger side before returning to the driver's window and spitting through the open window.

“It landed on her and also the interior of the vehicle,” said Mr Youds.

When Mr Hills got out of the car, Taylor was seen to clench his fist and bring it back behind his shoulder.

“He [Mr Hills] felt he was going to be assaulted,” Mr Youds said.

The court heard that Mrs Hills was a relatively new driver and had seen her confidence “knocked” as a result of the incident.

In a victim impact statement, read to the court, she said: “I was shocked that someone would react in such a way over something so minor.”

Probation officer Kim Graham told the court that Taylor had been “extremely remorseful” in her interview with him.

“He is disgusted and ashamed with himself and totally regrets his actions,” she said.

Michael Gray, defending, stressed his client had been “out of sorts” on the day as he had been suffering with flu.

Taylor maintained he had sneezed through the window but accepted spittle had struck Mrs Hills.

Mr Gray also told the court that Taylor was a man of previous good character who had a daughter and had done charity work for children and homeless people for more than five years.

After the sentencing, Taylor offered his apologies to the victims and to the court.

“It would have been easier if you had pleaded guilty,” the judge responded.