Banned Sunderland driver missed birth of baby daughter after getting arrested near Stadium of Light while driving partner in labour to hospital

A banned Sunderland driver got the baby blues and twos when he jumped behind the wheel when his pregnant partner went into labour.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 6:00 am

For Robert McLeod, 38, of Shoreham Square, Springhill, was arrested en route to hospital and missed the birth of his daughter.

Jobless McLeod called an ambulance but was told there was a three-hour delay due to coronavirus cases, his defence solicitor Jason Smith told a court.

Instead of taking a taxi, he got in his girlfriend’s car and set off – but was stopped by police in Millennium Way, near Sunderland's Stadium of Light football ground.

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Robert McLeod was in the custody suite while his partner was giving birth to his baby daughter.

He had already confessed to his crime by the time he came to his senses and phoned a friend to collect the woman.

As a result of his illegal driving, McLeod was in custody on Friday, July 24, when his child was born, magistrates in South Tyneside heard.

He has now been sentenced to an extra three-month driving ban to add to his existing disqualification, meaning he will not be back on the roads until March 12, 2023.

Prosecutor Ben Woodward said: “Police received information that the defendant was driving while disqualified.

“He was subsequently arrested and made admissions that he was driving while disqualified and without insurance.”

Mr Woodward added that when questioned McLeod made no reference to driving to hospital but was “going to pick up a friend who was in need”.

The court heard McLeod was banned from driving for four years in December 2018 for failure to provide a sample for analysis and drug-driving.

He also has a past conviction for failing to stop after an accident and driving without insurance.

Mr Smith insisted McLeod’s account of his actions was correct and he had been on a mercy mission for his partner.

He said: “In this particular case there is substantial mitigation. He was at his partner’s house and she was heavily pregnant with his child.

“They were enjoying the evening together and she wasn’t due for another two weeks.

“Unfortunately for Mr McLeod, his partner has gone into labour, her waters broke.

“He rang for an ambulance because he is disqualified, but was told it would be about three hours because they were dealing with coronavirus cases.

“He didn’t want to wait and so he put her in her car and drove to hospital. He tells the police straight away that he is banned.

“He called a friend who takes his partner to hospital, and he is taken into custody.

“His daughter was born that evening when he was in the custody suite.

“There was no suggestion that there was anything wrong with his driving, he was conveying his partner to hospital.

“This is one of those occasions where you can understand the mitigation and deal with him by way of a financial penalty.”

Magistrates told McLeod he should have phoned a taxi or a friend – and also fined him £120 with £85 court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

McLeod pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

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