Driver caused £40,000 damage to luxury flats - then lied to police about crash

SMASH: The Honda Civic after it hit the executive apartments.
SMASH: The Honda Civic after it hit the executive apartments.
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A DRIVER smashed into a block of executive apartments causing £40,000 worth of damage – and then told police he was asleep in bed when it happened.

Alexander Graham, 31, abandoned his Honda Civic, pulled his hood up over his face and ran back to his house, after losing control of the vehicle and ploughing into the property.

The Newcastle University worker then got tucked up in bed before police officers arrived at the damaged Rokerlea apartments, in Fulwell, Sunderland.

Bridie Smirthwaite, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court officers attended Graham’s address as he was registered as the car’s owner, where they found him asleep in bed.

When questioned Graham invented a burglar who, he said, must have come in through the back door and stole his spare set of keys.

Three days later Graham, of Moreland Street, Sunderland, made a fraudulent insurance claim saying he had been broken into and his car stolen.

The insurance company became suspicious and launched an investigation.

Graham pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, perverting the course of justice and making a fraudulent claim.

Vic Laffey, defending, said: “It’s a classic case of when you are in a hole stop digging. He invented a cock-and-bull story which, in reality, was never going to work out.”

However, when sentencing, Mr Recorder Wilby took Graham’s early guilty plea into account, the fact that he was employed and had a mortgage, and decided not to send him to jail.

He said: “The sentence should in no way be taken as an indication that people going out in their cars when they have had far too much to drink and driving into buildings, is not as serious as it gets.

“But, you are obviously a responsible and hard-working man and you have had the threat of a custodial sentence hanging over your head for over a year.”

Graham was sentenced to 15 months in prison suspended for 24 months. He was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and put under supervision for 12 months.

The judge ordered that he not drive for three years and that he retake his test when that period came to an end.