Dad-of-eight avoids jail after ‘lunatic’ high-speed police chase in Colchester

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: SIMON PARKER - Credit: Archant

A father-of-eight wept in court after being spared an immediate jail sentence following a “lunatic” high-speed police chase in a residential area of Colchester.

Shane Rolfe, 31, of Viscount Drive, Highwoods, Colchester, walked free from Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after being handed a 14-month suspended prison sentence after admitting to dangerous driving.

Speaking to this newspaper after the case, Rolfe apologised for his “stupid” actions.

The court heard he panicked when police started to follow him after the Volkswagen he was driving in the Stanway area was found to have no insurance.

Prosecuting, Michael Crimp said Rolfe was estimated by police to have driven at speeds of 50mph to 60mph during the pursuit in a 30mph residential area. He said Rolfe twice lost control of the car when turning into a road.

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“There were pedestrians on the pavement,” Mr Crimp said.

The chase ended when his car wheels locked and a police car made contact with his car.

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The incident took place at about 4pm on September 9 this year.

Before the case, Rolfe had admitted to dangerous driving, driving without insurance, not having a valid test certificate, no driving licence, failing to stop, and for driving while disqualified. Rolfe had 14 previous convictions for 26 offences, the court heard.In mitigation, Paul Donegan said Rolfe had not offended for eight years. He said Rolfe, a builder, was late for work and, in Rolfe’s opinion, driving the car was the only way to get to work.

Judge David Goodin said: “Having avoided any offences for a number of years, you have constructed a family and working life. A series of lunatic decisions on that day has put that at risk. In all the circumstances, there were no, by good luck, serious injuries.”

Rolfe audibly wept in the dock as Mr Goodin decided against handing an immediate jail term.

Rolfe was disqualified from driving for 12 months, given a curfew order for eight weeks, and told to pay £360 in costs in total.

He was instructed to attend a Thinking Skills Programme by Mr Goodin, who added: “I’m sure you panicked. You were lost. (The programme) will stop you getting in such a muddle.”

Speaking afterwards, Rolfe said: “It was just stupid. I’m just glad I didn’t get sent down, just before Christmas. I’d like to apologise for everyone for what I’ve done. I can sort myself out now.”

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