Danger driver sparked police chase before abandoning car

A dangerous driver sparked a police chase then abandoned his car which rolled towards a housing estate.

John Murphy was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Touran, that he had bought from a stranger for £500, when police tried to pull him over as the vehicle had shown up as stolen.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the 30-year-old "panicked", sped away and went off-road in Seaham, at around 9am on May 25.

He then abandoned the car and left it to roll towards the back of some houses.

John Murphy.

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Prosecutor Neil Jones said: "Police were on duty in an unmarked vehicle. They noted the vehicle was heading towards Seaham, at a normal speed for the most part.

"The journey the vehicle took was shown on helicopter footage, which shows the car parking up on Ryton Close within the Seaham area.

"It was at this point the vehicle was going to reverse and turn around the patrol vehicle and made off at speed."

The court heard that Murphy was described by an officer as driving off at "excessive speed" before going off-road.

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Mr Jones said that police had to abort the chase and added: "The vehicle was left to roll under its own momentum towards the back of some houses

"He was immediately co-operative and confirmed he had no licence but denied he had any involvement in the theft which preceded all of this.

"There was never any evidence to connect him with such theft."

Mr Jones told the court that Murphy had paid a stranger £500 for the car, which he planned to 'do up' and then sell on, despite it not having an up-to-date MOT.

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Murphy, of Saturn Street, Seaham, who had 13 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving with no insurance, and driving without a licence.

In mitigation, it was put forward that he admitted the offending at the earliest opportunity, and that the pursuit itself lasted for around 40 seconds.

Mr Recorder Tom Moran sentenced Murphy to six months imprisonment suspended for 18 months.

The judge told him: "You were driving a vehicle that was registered as stolen.

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"You were required to stop by the police but drove off.

"There was a short pursuit on-road and then went off-road to try escape police but you gave up after a relatively short time.

"You tried to make off but you were detained."

However, the judge accepted his remorse and acknowledged he had no similar offending on his record.

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Murphy was also banned from the roads for three years and must pass an extended re-test as well as complete 45 rehabilitation days and 80 hours of unpaid work.