A WESTCLIFF man who spat in a woman’s face over a parking row was told by a sheriff he avoided going to jail by “an extremely narrow margin.”

John McKenzie, 45, committed the offences on September 2, 2017, at Morrisons’ Petrol Station, Glasgow Road, Dumbarton. He pleaded guilty at the town’s sheriff court.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard last week how he assaulted a 39-year-old woman driver by spitting on her face.

During the same incident he also behaved in a threatening and aggressive manner likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear and alarm. He was shouting and swearing and made threats both to the woman and her 44-year-old husband, who was in the passenger seat of the car.

Prosecutor Emma Thomson told the court: “It was at 4.30pm in the forecourt of the filling station. She had filled her car with petrol and moved forward towards the yellow boxes marked on the ground beside the entrance to pay for her petrol.

“McKenzie was in his car with a young child. He paid for his petrol and when he exited a heated argument started between himself and the woman over the way she had parked.

“He then leaned into her car and spat on her face, narrowly missing her mouth. He left and went towards the supermarket car park. She followed him and was looking for some explanation and an apology. She parked her car beside his and informed him she was calling the police.

“He got out of his car and started shouting at her ‘you will be going nowhere with f****** flat tyres.’ She was alarmed by this. He then got back in his car and drove off.

“Police attended and they seized the CCTV evidence from the store. At 8.40pm that evening they traced McKenzie to his home address. He was cautioned and taken to Clydebank police office, where he was charged.”

Defence lawyer Roddy Boag said: “There is a suggestion in the social work report that what he did was an accident. The court can be entirely satisfied that he dispels in any way it was an accident. It was a spur of the moment action and accepts it was an assault. He accepts he lost his temper. There is a substantial gap in his offending.

“He is a full-time registered carer for his father. His behaviour was outrageous. There was no planning involved. It was something which arose out of nothing. He has a short fuse.”

Sheriff Simon Pender told McKenzie: “You have a short, but very serious record, albeit it is some ten years since your last offence. Because of this you always face the prospect of custody when charged with a crime of violence.

“By an extremely narrow margin there is a direct alternative to custody available.”

McKenzie was put on a community payback order and put on supervision for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay his female victim £300 in compensation and carry out 300 hours of community service. In addition he was ordered to attend anger management courses.