Conditional Discharge For Man Who Stole Father's Van and Then Crashed It

PUBLISHED: 15:29 07 April 2010 | UPDATED: 13:18 02 June 2010

TEENAGE driver Daniel Tunnell crashed his father s van into a fence after taking the vehicle without permission. He had taken the keys from the kitchen before driving off to Littleport, and lost control when skidding on an icy road in the early hours. Aft

TEENAGE driver Daniel Tunnell crashed his father's van into a fence after taking the vehicle without permission.

He had taken the keys from the kitchen before driving off to Littleport, and lost control when skidding on an icy road in the early hours.

After crashing into a 14-foot fence and three conifer trees, the teenager abandoned the van and ran away.

"I don't know what came over me," Tunnell told Ely magistrates. "I was going through a bad patch at home and at work. I have promised Mum and Dad I will not drive for the next year."

Tunnell had already paid dearly for the accident, the court heard. A victim statement from his father David Tunnell said the teenager had lost his place at home, and the vehicle he had been bought for his birthday.

The 18-year-old, who is about to move into a new flat, gave the court a "care-of" address in Springhead Lane, Ely. He admitted aggravated vehicle taking, and driving without insurance.

The Ford Connect van driven by Tunnell had landed in Chris Payne's front garden in Ely Road, Littleport, in the early hours of February 2, said prosecutor Laura Mardell.

Mr Tunnell confirmed he had left his van outside his home before going to bed, and the keys were left in the kitchen.

"His son was in the house; but when he checked later, he found the keys were missing and his son was nowhere to be seen," added Miss Mardell.

Tunnell handed himself in to the police the next day. He told officers he had lost control when changing gear and going round a corner. He skidded on ice, panicked, and ran away.

His father's statement said: "I feel this incident was totally out of character for Daniel, and I feel he has learned a lesson. He has shown remorse."

The court gave Tunnell a one-year conditional discharge. He was banned from driving for a year, and ordered to pay £490 compensation and £100 costs.


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