Man 'lucky to be alive' after A12 high-speed police chase crash

Ipswich Crown Court

Matthew Saunders' trial is taking place at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A 33-year-old Essex man who drove off in his former partner’s car after allegedly assaulting her was “lucky to get out  alive” after he crashed during a high-speed police chase on the A12, a court has heard.

Matthew Saunders' ex girlfriend had fled to a neighbour’s house in Colchester and called the police after he allegedly “rained” blows on her face in front of a child, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

While she was waiting for the police the woman heard an engine being revved and a screeching sound and she realise that Saunders had taken her car keys which she’d left on a table, said Hugh Vass, prosecuting.

There was a skidding of wheels as police arrived and there was then a high-speed chase on the A12 which resulted in a serious collision.

“The car was written off and he was lucky to get out of it alive,” said Mr Vass.

Saunders, of Saxon Gardens, Shoeburyness, has denied assault causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage.

The jury has been told that he has pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and aggravated taking a car without consent.

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Mr Vass said Saunders and the victim of the assault had been in a “stormy” relationship for a year and after they split up she had agreed to let him carry on living with her as he had started a new job.

On August 31 last year Saunders had gone to the pub and during a telephone conversation during the afternoon his former partner told him he wasn’t welcome back at her house because he’d been drinking.

That evening Saunders had knocked on her door before allegedly pushing his way in and becoming upset because he thought someone had stolen his tobacco, said Mr Vass.

There was then an argument during which Saunders had allegedly “rained” blows on her face causing a deep purple bruise to her chin.

The woman had fled to a neighbour’s house to call the police and it was while she was waiting for officers arrive she heard her car engine being revved.

Following his arrest Saunders denied assaulting his former partner and claimed she had assaulted him.

He also claimed that she had smashed a television by throwing a table leg at him which had missed.

The trial continues.