A car driver who left a motorbike rider paralysed for life after knocking him into the path of a lorry has been jailed for four years.

Ronald Ruddock, 60, of Leytonstone, veered his Ford Focus after reacting angrily when a motorcyclist rapped on his wing mirror on the M25 in Hertfordshire in May 2019.

St Albans Crown Court heard a ‘red mist’ descended on Ruddock when he steered his vehicle up to three times to strike the nearby Triumph Tiger.

It caused the rider to fall into the path of a white DAF lorry, leaving him permanently paralysed.

The road rage attack happened in heavy traffic, between junctions 18 and 17 at 7am on May 15, 2019. The traffic was moving at around 10mph.

Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said: “It was the deliberate ramming of a motorcyclist by a car driver on the motorway. The consequences of this cowardly, cowardly act are incalculable.”

Judge Michael Kay told Ruddock: “This case is an example of the potentially horrific consequences of incidents of road rage.

“There was heavy traffic. You thought there was an opportunity to move from lane 4 into the adjacent lane, lane 3. It is something we have all seen. People become impatient just to gain a few extra yards.

“There was insufficient room to make the manoeuvre.”

The judge said the motorbike rider was behaving perfectly properly by filtering through the slow moving traffic.

The court heard the rider wrapped Ruddock’s wing mirror when he moved in front of him and raised his hand, but there was no suggestion he had made an obscene gesture.

Previous: Motorcyclist seriously injured after M25 crash

The judge went on: “Then the terrible course of events played out over the next 2 or 3 seconds.

“It was described as a red mist.  You were angry that he had rapped on your wing mirror. At about 10mph you turned directly towards and into his motorbike. There was not just one point of contact. The evidence is there were possible 3 points at which you nudged his bike.

“There is no doubt that was an extremely dangerous course of conduct. It knocked him into the path of an articulated vehicle. It was mindless, it was stupid, it was for a few seconds vicious and entirely thoughtless.”

Defending, Jo Morris said Ruddock was a structural engineer who had no other driving convictions and is normally a safe driver.

After being convicted of causing grievous bodily harm and causing serious injury by dangerous driving, Ruddock, of Hainault Road, was jailed for four years and banned from driving for six years.

In a victim personal statement the motorbike rider said: “It [the incident] has changed my life dramatically. I am no longer able to walk or control my bowel or bladder. I will be on long-term medication.

“I have a young son and am no longer able to interact or play sport with him. I have nightmares and sleepless nights.”

Since he made the victim personal statement, he has undergone five operations and many more await, Mr Weidmann said.