'You avoided jail by a whisker': Judge spares driver who crashed after 100mph chase and tried to blame girlfriend

A motorist who crashed after a 100mph police chase then swapped seats with his girlfriend so she would take the blame has avoided jail.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 20th August 2021, 12:30 pm

Shane Martin Gill then refused to give a breath test to police, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The 30-year-old was initially spotted by police at 5.20am on the morning of April 5 this year in Normanton and when they tried to pull him over, he accelerated away in his BMW with his girlfriend in the passenger seat and another female in the back, prosecutor Benjamin Whittingham said.

At one point he reached speeds of 70 mph in a built-up 30 mph Snydale Road area, nearly losing control and skidding after kitting a kerb.

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The police chased Gill through Normanton.

Police were so concerned they held back but continued to follow Gill.

Dashcam footage from the police vehicle was played to the court and showed him head towards Normanton bypass where he reached speeds of 105 mph.

He then failed to negotiate a roundabout and crashed through a fence and into a hedge.

By the time the officers got to the car, Gill was in the passenger side with his partner in the driving seat.

The court was told that she was sobbing and said that she had asked him to stop, and quickly confessed to officers that he had asked her to swap places.

Officers noticed he smelled of alcohol but he turned down a breath test, and during interview denied he had been driving before giving 'no comment' answers.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and failing to take a breath test during a hearing at the magistrates' court.

Mitigating, Emily Jenkins, explained that Gill had a barbecue at his Normanton home on King Street the previous night and friends has stayed over.

But they wanted a lift home in the early hours and Gill offered.

Ms Jenkins said: "He simply did not want to say no.

"He panicked (when he saw the police) because had consumed a couple of beers the night before."

Gill, who is groundwork supervisor, has no previous convictions and no points on his licence.

Ms Jenkins added: "He is deeply ashamed and it's had a profound effect on his life.

"He fully understands the severity and impact of these offences."

She added that his girlfriend had offered to swap seats in the car, but that contradicted was she told the police and was questioned by the court.

Recorder Bryan Cox QC said: "This was appalling driving.

"It was highly dangerous and you are very fortunate that that you did not kill someone.

"Had you done so, you would have been facing a very long prison sentence.

"You missed custody by a whisker. When I saw that video I thought there was no alternative"

He jailed him for 12 months, but suspended it for two years, gave him 300 hours of unpaid work and banned him from driving for three years.

He must take an extended driving test once his ban expires.