Speeding driver avoids prison

PUBLISHED: 12:27 28 September 2006 | UPDATED: 12:02 04 May 2010

A TEENAGE learner driver who sped through the centre of Haddenham at 80 mph narrowly escaped a jail sentence this week. Police tried to stop Paul Richardson as he careered through the High Street in a white Rover Metro, but he sped off and was clocked doi

A TEENAGE learner driver who sped through the centre of Haddenham at 80 mph narrowly escaped a jail sentence this week.

Police tried to stop Paul Richardson as he careered through the High Street in a white Rover Metro, but he sped off and was clocked doing 80 mph in a 30 mph limit.

"Our guidelines say that for a first offence of dangerous driving, a custodial sentence is required," presiding magistrate Bryant Watson told Richardson at Ely courthouse on Thursday.

"Speeds of up to 80 mph in a 30 mph limit are highly dangerous to say the least." But, he added, Richardson was free from drugs and alcohol and willing to work, so would not be jailed.

Instead, he was given a 300 hour community work order, and banned from driving for a year. He must take an extended test at the end of the ban, and pay court costs of £55.

Richardson, 19, of High Street, Aldreth, had admitted driving dangerously on July 16, failing to stop for the police, driving without a licence or insurance, and missing court on August 15.

Police thought Richardson was an underage driver, and tried to stop him in Haddenham High Street, said prosecutor Francesca Devine. He drove past officers, and was followed along the High Street and into Hill Road. He drove at 80 mph in a 30 mph limit, pursued by a police car using lights and sirens.

Richardson had failed to turn up at court on August 15 because he was frightened of going to jail, said solicitor Veronica Candy.

"He fully accepts that his driving behaviour that day was reprehensible," she said. "He knew he was not going to get away from the police, and panic set in before he was stopped. He clearly understands the danger he put others in, himself and his passengers.

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