A ROAD rage thug terrorised the driver of a school bus while it was full of children with special needs.

Thomas Graham, 34, lost the plot after getting stuck behind the bus, which had collected children from Riverbrae School, in Linwood.

He overtook the vehicle, leaving only inches between it and his car, while sticking his arm out of a window to make rude gestures at the driver.

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Graham also yelled abuse at him as he sped past, before slamming on his brakes and dropping down to just 20 miles-per-hour on a bypass.

That caused the bus driver to brake sharply, with his young passengers left upset after they witnessed the gestures being made.

The details emerged when Graham, of Kintyre Avenue, Linwood, appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court over the events of February 2 last year.

He pleaded guilty to both charges he faced – dangerous driving and behaving in a threatening or abusive way towards the bus driver.

The court was told that, after hurling abuse at the bus driver, Graham used a slip road to flee the scene – but not before another adult who was on the bus to help chaperone the children had phoned the police.

Graham was later tracked down and detained in connection with the incident, making no comment when charged by officers.

Defence solicitor Terry Gallanagh said Graham had not admitted his guilt earlier as he believed he was guilty of careless driving, as opposed to dangerous driving, but now accepted his conduct was dangerous.

The lawyer added that his client had lost his tempter after the bus driver made a rude gesture at him.

Mr Gallanagh told the court: “He has always accepted his behaviour on the day in question was completely unacceptable.

“His position is that he was driving out of Linwood and there was a gap in the traffic which he thought allowed him to come out. As he came out, the bus driver came very close, beeped at him and the driver extended his middle finger.

“He accepts thereafter that he lost his temper, although it is a ridiculous reason for him to lose his temper.”

The court also heard the vehicle involved was a private hire coach, with nothing to suggest it was a school bus, and that Graham was mortified when he learned there had been children on board.

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Mr Gallanagh added: “He’s absolutely ashamed he has acted in this manner. He is truly contrite.”

After hearing that Graham works for a timber merchant and believes he will lose his job as a result of the conviction and driving ban, Sheriff McCartney called for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing and adjourned the case until next month.

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