Man jailed for 'apalling piece of driving' in Stratford
It was only by luck that people were not injured or killed as a result of a young man’s ‘determined and appalling driving’ in Stratford, a judge has told him.
Christopher Sharkey had hit another car when he shot through a red light at high speed, but still kept going until he crashed into a hoarding, Warwick Crown Court had heard.
And despite having no previous convictions, Sharkey (21) of Daylesford Road, Solihull, was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and having no licence or insurance.
Prosecutor Stuart Clarkson said that at 10pm on November 21 last year police officers on patrol in Stratford saw Sharkey in a Seat Ibiza in Alcester Road turning into the Morrisons car park.
The store was closed by then, and after seeing Sharkey drive round the service road, the officers decided to stop him and put on their blue light and siren.
But rather than stopping, Sharkey drove back out onto Alcester Road and accelerated away towards the town centre.
At the junction with Brunel Way he went through a red light at speed, hitting a Mini Cooper which its owner Rebecca Bradley had only bought two weeks earlier.
“He did not stop, and went through a second red light on the wrong side of the road and carried on, but lost control and hit some hoardings on railings at the side of the road.”
Mr Clarkson said Sharkey then got out of the Seat, which he had borrowed from a friend, and ran off, but was arrested and found to have a small amount of cannabis on him.
When he was interviewed he denied taking the car without his friend’s consent, ‘but accepted everything else,’ explaining that he had driven off because he was scared of the police.
Anthony Bell, defending, said: “He is now 21, 20 at the time, with no previous convictions.
“He accepts he was foolish, but the bad driving was of a relatively short duration, about 500 yards by my estimation from Morrisons to where the car stopped, and nobody was injured, fortunately.
“He got out and ran off, but after a short chase he stopped and was arrested. The cannabis he revealed to the officer was a small amount, and there is no suggestion he was intoxicated at the time.”
Mr Bell pointed out that Sharkey had been found not guilty of taking his friend’s car without consent following a trial in the magistrates’ court.
He said there were concerns over the health of Sharkey’s mother’s new partner, with whom he gets on well, adding: “If Your Honour feels it does cross the custody threshold...”
Judge Barry Berlin interjected: “I do, by a long way.”
Jailing him and banning him from driving for 23 months, Judge Berlin told Sharkey: “You are of previous good character, but you have pleaded guilty to serious offences.
“The police saw you in Alcester Road. That is a busy road, and they were suspicious. They thought you might be committing an offence, and they were right.
“You accelerated away, heading back along Alcester Road towards Stratford-upon-Avon, and you collided with Rebecca Bradley’s recently-bought Mini Cooper.
“You could easily have killed someone and yourself. You were driving so quickly for the road conditions that you lost control and collided with a railing and hoarding. You must have been going at a considerable speed.
“It was determined and appalling driving at high speed. The public were put at serious risk, and you had no insurance, no licence, and you had cannabis in your possession.
“You are 21 years of age, and you have no previous convictions, and the duration of the dangerous driving was relatively short.
“Nonetheless, it was extremely serious. This was an appalling piece of driving, and it is only by luck that people were not injured or killed.”