Cyclist suffered five broken ribs when he was pushed from his bike by an angry dog-walker along the Kenilworth Greenway

The attacker, who said he took action after he believed the cyclist was riding too fast, has been jailed for inflicting grievous bodily harm

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 9:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 9:28 am

A cyclist suffered five broken ribs when he was pushed from his bike by an angry dog-walker who believed he was riding too fast along the Kenilworth Greenway country park.

And as he fled after the incident, company director Paul Oliver’s wife and a friend of theirs stayed at the scene and lied to the police, claiming the attacker was an unknown person.

But by the time the police went to the couple’s home the following day to take a witness statement from Sarah Oliver, they had learned the truth and arrested them both.

Paul Oliver (49) of Cromwell Lane, Coventry, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm on his victim Jaroslaw Zachwieja.

Paul Oliver (49) of Cromwell Lane, Coventry, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm on his victim Jaroslaw Zachwieja.

Sarah Oliver (45) and Lynnet Armstrong (55) of Copt Oak Close, Coventry, were both charged with perverting the course of justice, but pleaded guilty to an alternative offence of assisting an offender.

Sarah Oliver was fined £160 and Armstrong was given a conditional discharge for 12 months – but they were each ordered to pay £1,200 costs.

Prosecutor Gary Rutter said that in June last year Mr Zachwieja went for an evening ride along the Kenilworth Greenway, a country park along an old railway line near Kenilworth.

Sarah Oliver and Lynette Armstrong.

Although he was riding an electric bike, he was relying on pedal-power, and was doing around 20km/hour as he rode in the direction of Burton Green.

Ahead of him he saw the Olivers and Armstrong walking towards him with their dogs, taking up half of the path, and did not feel he needed to take avoiding action as he rode past them.

But as he did so, Paul Oliver angrily shouted at him to ‘Slow the f*** down.’

Mr Zachwieja continued on his ride before turning round and heading back to where he had parked his car, and again came upon Oliver on one side of the path and the two women on the other side.

As he rode between them at 12km/hour, he felt ‘a massive blow’ from Oliver to the right side of his body, knocking him off his bike and leaving him screaming in pain on the ground.

Oliver then grabbed him by his shoulders and lifted him partly off the ground before throwing him back down.

He then left the scene, but his wife and Armstrong stayed and called for the police and an ambulance.

When they arrived, Sarah Oliver said she and Armstrong had been walking their dogs, and that a man they had just met on their walk, who they did not know, had pushed the cyclist and then run off – an account which was supported by Armstrong.

Mr Zachwieja was taken to hospital where he was found to have five broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade, as well as bad grazing to his body and face.

The police said they would need to visit Sarah Oliver at her home the following day to take a witness statement from her – but by the time of that visit they suspected Paul Oliver had been responsible, and planned to arrest him if he was there.

And when an officer spoke to Sarah at her home she became upset and said: “I’m sorry, we shouldn’t have lied.”

Ian Speed, defending, said: “The injuries were totally not intended, and could have been partly caused by the speed he was travelling at. If he had been almost stationary he would not have suffered such injury.”

Arguing for a suspended sentence, Mr Speed said Oliver was the director of a groundworks company which was heavily reliant on him.

Jailing Paul Oliver, Recorder William Davis told him: “You believed he was riding too fast, given the width of the path. I accept there may be legitimate disagreement on what would be a safe speed to pass.

“You appeared to be angry, and as he went past you pushed him, causing him to fall off his bike.

“Although it was not premeditated, it was a deliberate push....which resulted in very serious injuries. Appropriate punishment can only be achieved by the imposition of an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

And he told the two women: “Both of you lied about what happened. Fortunately the truth was quickly uncovered.”