A ROAD rage thug who terrorised the driver of a disabled kids’ school bus while it was full of children with special needs has been spared jail. 

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

Graham overtook the bus, leaving just inches between it and his car, while sticking his arm out of the window to make rude gestures at the driver.

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He also yelled abuse at him as he sped past, before braking sharply and dropping down to 20-miles-per-hour on a bypass.

That caused the bus driver to slam on his brakes, with the kids on board left upset after seeing the gestures.

Graham, of Kintyre Avenue, Linwood, admitted his guilt over the events of February 2, 2018, at Paisley Sheriff Court last month.

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

The court was told 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 pleaded guilty earlier because he believed he was guilty of careless driving, as opposed to dangerous driving, but now accepted it was dangerous.

And he said Graham had lost his temper because of the actions of the bus driver.

The lawyer explained: “He has always accepted his behaviour on the day in question was completely unacceptable.

“His position is 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 bus was a private hire coach, with nothing to suggest it was a school bus, and Graham was mortified when he learned there had been children on board.

After hearing Graham worked for a timber merchant and believed he would 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 for that to be done.

When Graham returned to the dock, Sheriff McCartney placed him on a Community Payback Order which will see him carry out 135 hours of unpaid work.

He banned him from driving for 16 months, told him to pass the extended driving test before getting behind the wheel again, and fined him £450.

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