Dangerous driver jailed

A MAN was yesterday jailed for dangerous driving after he reversed into an unmarked police car in north Suffolk last year.

Colin Adwent

A MAN was yesterday jailed for dangerous driving after he reversed into an unmarked police car in north Suffolk last year.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how Sean Lawless, of Rosewood, Lowestoft, was driving along the A146 from Beccles to Lowestoft on September 4, 2008, when the incident occurred.

The 33-year-old was being followed by police officers in unmarked cars when they observed him driving in an “exceptional manner”.

When Lawless's vehicle came to a natural stop officers took the opportunity to speak to him, with one unmarked police car stopped in front of his car and another behind his car.

As they approached him he reversed, colliding with the stationary unmarked police car behind him.

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One detective, who was in the parked car at the time, sustained a wrist injury which caused him to be off work for at least one day.

Lawless then immediately drove off straight towards a uniformed police officer who, wearing a high visibility jacket and standing in the road, was trying to deploy a stinger device to stop his car.

Lawless finally came to a stop when his car mounted a pavement and crashed into a tree at an address on Hollow Grove Way. He jumped out of his vehicle and ran off before being detained by police officers later.

Jonathan Chibafa, defending, said his client's period of dangerous driving, although as bad as it was, did not last for a prolonged period of time.

He added his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest possible opportunity and said Lawless had been out of trouble for about a year prior to the incident.

Judge Anthony Bate said the 33-year-old, who has 33 convictions for 66 offences, had a “lamentable record”.

Giving credit for the early plea the judge said he was convinced the nature of the crime was such that a custodial sentence was justified.

“In my judgement, bearing in mind all said on your behalf, I remain of the view that this offence was so serious only a prison sentence will justify it.

“In your anxiety to get away from police you drove in a thoroughly reckless manner through residential streets in a busy urban area.”

Lawless was sentenced to nine months in prison of which it is likely he will serve half. He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months and before driving again he will be required to take and pass an extended driving test.

Reacting to his sentence Lawless shouted out to a friend in the public gallery. He said: “Bye, I am going off on holiday for a bit.”

Suffolk police said they were pleased at the court's decision to impose a prison term.

Detective Sergeant Matt Bodmer said: “It was only luck that no one was seriously injured as he put both the officers involved, members of the public and himself and his passenger in danger.

“We are pleased that the court has seen fit to give a custodial sentence.”