A FATHER who set up a firm tackling anti-social behaviour thanked a judge for sending him to jail following an assault, saying the decision helped him get his life back on track.

Ben Hunt, 36, was appealing against the high fine he received for speeding near a school in Fernhill Heath when he recognised judge Nicolas Cartwright who jailed him for assault last year. Speaking at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, he said: “I would just like to thank you for allowing me to change my life around.”

He told the judge that his mother had died while he was in prison for the assault. But far from being bitter the appellant said: “Maybe I did need that short, sharp wake up. I thank you for dealing with the case in the way you did – because it will never happen again.”

“Thank you for saying that” said the judge, sitting with two magistrates. Hunt was caught driving at 41mph in a 30mph road in Fernhill Heath, near Worcester on November 20 last year. James Bruce, prosecuting, had described the appellant as being ‘very apologetic about his speed’ at the time and he told officers he had just picked up his children from school and was travelling home.

He said aggravating features were that he had passengers and the presence of people nearby, including children outside a school. Mr Hunt, representing himself at the hearing, said up until this matter he had had a full clean driving licence and had needed this so he could drive his mum around as her sole carer before she died. He said he was told at the time by an officer he could expect to get a £100 fine and three penalty points. Instead he received a £410 fine after filling in the relevant form and pleading guilty by post. Mr Hunt of Walk Mill Drive, Droitwich, said he was never asked to give any account of his means, describing the fine as ‘excessive to say the least’.

He added: “I genuinely have been overcharged at a time like this, during a pandemic.”

The judge and magistrates upheld the appeal, reducing the fine to £100 although they could not reverse the costs of £85 and the victim surcharge of £32. In total he will have to pay £217.