Gym owner in court over Larne ‘road rage’ incident

Ballymena Court.

Ballymena Court.

A well-known gym owner and personal fitness trainer from Belfast appeared in court on Thursday - his birthday - and was ordered to carry out 80 hours of Community Service following a ‘road rage’ incident in Larne.

Ross Masterson (30) of Lewis Mews, was at Ballymena Magistrates Court in connection with causing £570 damage to the bonnet of a woman’s Hyundai Getz in October last year.

He admitted a charge of criminal damage during a bust-up at a filling station forecourt at 11.30 in the morning.

A prosecutor said the incident happened after a minor road traffic incident at Millbrook Roundabout.

A sports car was being driven by Masterson’s partner and at the filling station the Hyundai driver pulled in and asked: “where did you get your licence?”

The prosecutor said Masterson referrred to a death in the family and approached the woman’s vehicle three times and left a dent in the bonnet.

During police interview Masterson alleged the injured party shouted at his partner and he didn’t know if he struck the bonnet with his hand or knee as he walked past.

He said he had a broken elbow at the time.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said his client accepts there was contact.

Mr Law said Masterson’s partner earlier may have involuntarily “cut up” the other driver in a road manoeuvre and he alleged the injured party then followed flashing lights and sounding the horn.

Mr Law said Masterson remonstrated with the injured party.

The lawyer said news had come through on the day of the incident that Masterson’s partner’s grandad had died.

Imposing 80 hours Community Service, Deputy District Judge Phillip Mateer acknowledged Masterson did not start off the incident and was in a heightened emotional state because of bereavement when the injured party made a “smart” comment asking where his partner had bought their licence.

The judge said it was a lesson to all not to get involved in incidents like this.

He noted Masterson was a “well-built” man involved in the world of fitness and no doubt he instilled fear in the injured party having “lost control”.

The judge said the defendant had to learn to control himself particularly as he had an “intimidating frame”.

Masterson also has to pay £570 compensation.