Driver jailed after nearly hitting man with pushchair

The Gallops with the Town Centre in the background

A drunk jockey nearly hit a man with a pushchair in Newmarket

A drunk jockey who drove off in a friend’s van after being thrown out of a pub and nearly hit a man with a pushchair has been jailed for 14 months

Sentencing 25-year-old Aidan Kennedy, who was four times the drink drive limit, Recorder Jeremy Benson said: “What you did was extremely dangerous and you are very lucky you aren’t facing a significant period in custody having killed somebody.

“I’m sure now that you’re sober you realise that,” said the judge.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Kennedy had been drinking in the Prince of Wales pub in Newmarket on July 18 this year and after being asked to leave because of his drunken behaviour he had taken the keys to a friend’s van and driven off in it.

The van was reported stolen to police and shortly afterwards Kennedy had tried to turn from Exning Road into George Lambton Avenue and had collided with a Range Rover parked on a driveway, damaging the rear bumper and index plate, said Hugh Vass, prosecuting.

Kennedy had reversed off the driveway and continued his journey and as he drove along Howard De Walden Way witnesses heard the sound of screeching tyres and saw him swerving across the road before clipping a parked Nissan Qashqai.

Kennedy had continued swerving from side to side and narrowly missed a man pushing a pushchair and a dog walker.

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“They had to take evasive action to avoid being hit,” said Mr Vass.

Shortly afterwards the van had collided with railings and as Kennedy tried to make off he was rugby tackled to the ground by a member of the public who had witnessed his driving.

When police arrived at the scene Kennedy was asked to provide a roadside breath test which showed he was four times the drink drive limit.

Kennedy, of Field Terrace, Newmarket, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, threatening behaviour, failing to stop after an accident, failing to provide a specimen, no insurance and driving without a licence.

In addition to being jailed he was banned from driving for 25 months.

The court heard that Kennedy had got drunk after learning his former partner had a new relationship.

Michael Stradling for Kennedy said his client was a talented jockey and regretted committing the offences.