Man sentenced to prison for 'appalling' road rage attack

A man has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison for an "appalling" road rage attack on a family in a rural area near Auckland.

The attack, which saw the family's car flip and two children thrown from the vehicle, was described as "racially motivated" by the prosecutor Jasper Rhodes, but the judge disagreed.

Fraser Milne, 21, plead guilty in May to dangerous driving, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and four charges of injuring with reckless disregard for safety reasons.

On Friday, he was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in the Auckland High Court by Justice Sally Fitzgerald. He will also have to pay $10,000 in reparations and has been disqualified from driving for a year once released from prison.

In March last year, a Kiwi family of Chinese descent - a mother, father and two of their children aged 10 and 12 - as well as a family friend, were out for a drive around the Awhitu Peninsula near Auckland.

Milne was driving another vehicle and says when he went to pass the family, the family's car crossed the centre line, causing him to crash. He followed the family at speed and did a U-turn to cut them off.

Milne confronted the family and threatened them with violence. 

As Awhitu Peninsula is a remote area, the family couldn't contact the Police. 

Milne began hitting the family's car, yelling that his dog would eat them, before the family managed to flee. 

Milne then went to a nearby group of shops where he told people there "Asians are taking over the country". 

He then spotted the family's car passing the shops and took off after them. He followed them at speeds of 140km/h for 10 minutes. 

He pulled up beside the family, on the wrong side of the road, and demanded they stop. 

Milne then rammed the family's car, causing it crash into a bank and flip in the air. The family car landed upside down on Milne's vehicle. The two children were thrown from the vehicle. 

All of the family was taken to hospital. One of the children suffered a fractured skull and a cut to the head. The family friend suffered bleeding to the brain. 

Milne continued yelling racial slurs at the father while the family lay injured. He did not attempt to help. 

The family and their friends all have name suppression. 

In statements read out to the court by the prosecutor, the family said they had been significantly impacted by the attack. Their health and business have suffered. Their car was written off and they don't have insurance to replace it. 

They said that they thought New Zealand was a good country and they had always felt safe here. One person said they had difficulty sleeping and feared they would be attacked again. 

The prosecutor said it was a "racially motivated" attack. He said it was a sustained and prolonged attack that goes "beyond the realm of road rage". 

"This was revenge ... and when he had other choices he chooses to attack them."

But at the sentencing, Justice Fitzgerald disagreed, saying Milne hadn't immediately known the family's ethnicity and would have likely reacted similarly to anyone. But she still described Milne's comments to the family as "abhorrent and appalling".

The defence lawyer, Mark Ryan, earlier said his client was remorseful and pleaded guilty at the earliest possible time. He described the incident as "atrocious".

The lawyer said Milne was driving his father's car and pursued the vehicle as he wanted payment to make repairs.

"What happened is tragic but fortunately no one died. He acted stupidly, irrationally and without thought."

In a summary to the court, the judge said Milne was a meth user who had only come off the drug a month prior to the attack. He said he was taken over by rage and the attack was not motivated by any prejudice. 

Milne now says he has been drug free for over a year and will repay the family for the car. 

Milne has no previous criminal record. 

Neither Milne's family or police had comment after the sentencing.