Dad forged daughter's signature to divert blame for motoring offence

Richard Selinius, of Brightlingsea, will face trial at Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A man who forged his daughter's signature to deflect blame for a motoring offence has avoided going straight to jail.

Philip Thompson claimed his daughter was behind the wheel of a car which jumped a red light when she actually was studying at university 200 miles away.

Thompson, 60, of Whitesfield, East Bergholt, was sentenced to nine months' custody, suspended for two years, at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday, having previously admitted committing a series of acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.

He was also fined £5,000.

The court heard how Thompson, a limousine hire company boss, had forged one of his two daughters' signatures on a notice of intended prosecution sent to the address on February 1, 2018, after her silver Ford Fiesta was recorded jumping a red light

Thompson's daughter had yet to pass her driving test and had left the car in the driveway of the family home for safekeeping while at university in Bristol, explained prosecutor Sasha Bailey. 

Two months later, Thompson obtained his daughter's provisional licence by claiming it was required in order to apply for university funding.

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The teenager's mother, and Thompson's ex-wife, called the DVLA to discover that magistrates had imposed three penalty points on the provisional licence and issued a notice of indented prosecution in January.

Miss Bailey said Thompson's daughter, who later provided proof of her whereabouts on the day of the traffic offence, subsequently received a number of "abusive, threatening and wholly unpleasant" text messages from her father, warning: "You've got until tonight to withdraw you statement or my solicitor will destroy you in court", while another asked: "What's the big deal? You haven't even got a licence. Why can't you just take the points?"

The court heard Thompson was convicted of a similar offence in November 2006 for contesting a speeding ticket incurred by one of his limos by claiming the vehicle had been "cloned". 

Richard Conley, mitigating, said Thompson was "thoroughly ashamed" of his behaviour and had "lost control" amid extremely difficult personal circumstances.

He said Thompson still maintained he was not the driver but accepted knowing that neither was his daughter behind the wheel.

Mr Conley said Thompson had a severe heart condition, which may require further surgery and made him more vulnerable to infection from Covid-19 in the confines of prison.

Recorder Jeremy Benson told Thompson he had breached his daughter's trust, adding: "If it wasn't for your state of health and the way the Covid pandemic could affect you in prison, I would have have no hesitation in sending you there today. It would be thoroughly deserved."

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