A driver who hit a man in the face with a hockey stick, causing him life-changing injuries, following a road rage incident has been jailed.

Stephan Christie, 36, of Daglen Drive, South Ockendon, appeared at Basildon Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to four charges across two incidents.

The first happened close to Lakeside, when Christie was driving alongside a man called David White.

The court heard how on May 4, 2017, Mr White had audibly questioned what Christie was looking at, resulting in Christie tailgating White and encouraging him to pull over.

Mr White pulled over on Cygnet View, West Thurrock, and got out of his car.

Prosecuting, Noel Casey, told the court: “Before Mr White could exit the car he was hit in the face by Christie with a weapon that he could not perceive."

Christie then drove off after landing a single blow on Mr White, with what Christie admitted to police was a hockey stick, rendering him with injuries so severe that he needed 14 stitches to his nose and was left with permanent damage to his left eye, which will never dilate again.

Mr Casey also told the court that White had “spent £3,500 on laser eye surgery” following the incident.

The second incident involved a man, Benjamin Wakefield, who was known to Christie as a friend of his former partner.

The court heard how on May 10, 2017, Christie, in his black Ford Fiesta, chased Mr Wakefield in South Ockendon while he was riding a bicycle.

During the pursuit, Christie overtook Mr Wakefield in his car then reversed into him, knocking him off his bike.

Mr Wakefield managed to get away with a few cuts and grazes.

Christie was later arrested and charged for both incidents.

Mitigating, Daniel O’Malley, explained to the court that Christie regretted his actions, falsely believing Mr White was retrieving a weapon from his car.

He said: “What he says is that he believed Mr White was going to his glove box for a weapon.

“He immediately regretted what he had done and took his leave.”

He was sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment in total; three and a half years for grievous bodily harm and possession of an offensive weapon in the first incident, and one year for dangerous driving and common assault in the second incident.

He was additionally made to pay £100 in compensation to Mr White for hospital parking charges, and disqualified from driving for a period of three years after he is released from prison.

Sentencing was Judge Ian Graham, who said: “You got out of your car and went to Mr White’s car and hit him with a weapon that appears to be a hockey stick.

“As a result of that blow, Mr White suffered very serious injuries.”