'Fit felon' handed new jail term after high-speed police chase crash

A wanted Wakefield criminal whose photograph attracted an army of admirers across the country has been jailed again after a dangerous high-speed police chase.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 13th May 2022, 7:30 am

Jonathan Cahill's mugshot was released by police earlier this year when he was wanted on a recall to prison, but it won him a legion of female followers for his looks.

The 37-year-old, who was dubbed a 'fit felon', was part way through an eight-year sentence for conspiracy to burgle.

Police eventually arrested him for breaching his licence conditions and he was taken back to custody.

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Back behind bars...Jonathan Cahill.

However, while out on licence he became involved in a chase in Wakefield that left two police officers injured.

Leeds Crown Court was told that officers were on patrol on Denby Dale Road, Wakefield, in a marked police car at 4.50am on April 16 last year when a Ford Fiesta drove past them at high speed and on the wrong side of the road.

Prosecutor Jade Edwards said they pursued the Fiesta driven by Cahill who reached speeds of 90 mph in a 40mph limit, then at almost 70 mph when he reached a 30 mph residential area.

He overtook a vehicle at speed and over speed bumps and at one point pulled a 180-degree handbrake turn which Ms Edwards said was an attempt to ram the police vehicle.

He then entered a roundabout at 75 mph and tried to enter the M1 on the wrong side at J39.

The police then made "tactical contact", colliding with the Fiesta and forcing it to stop.

Footage of the incident was played to the judge during the hearing.

It was estimated that the damage caused to the police vehicle was almost £14,000. The officers were left with minor injuries.

Cahill, c/o Whinney Moor Avenue, Wakefield, denied dangerous driving and driving while banned, but later changed his pleas to guilty after a trial date had been set.

He also admitted failing to provide a breath test or a sample of blood for analysis, and having no insurance.

The court was told that Cahill, who is currently in HMP Wealstun in Wetherby, has 46 previous convictions for 131 offences, including 14 for driving while banned, 15 for having no insurance and one for drink driving.

Mitigating, Robin Frieze admitted Cahill was lucky that his latest offences happened early in the morning when there was little traffic around.

He said that Cahill was no wanting to turn his back on crime and said: "He has since had a baby with his partner and he is desperate at the age of 37 to stop offending, get out and be there for his family."

The court was told that the earliest he could be released from his current sentence for burglary is May next year.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar told him: "There's a large number of offences related to driving on your record.

"Here we are once again. I've seen the footage. You could have lost control and at any stage.

"The crash, whether it was tactical or otherwise, I was certainly frightened by what I saw."

He jailed Cahill for 21 months.