Elmswell: Former Suffolk Show director banned from road after police chase drama

A FORMER Suffolk Show director who drove dangerously whilst being chased by police has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

Peter Over, of Elmswell Hall Farm, Elmswell, was given an 18-month community order and banned from driving for 18 months when he appeared today at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court.

Over had previously admitted driving dangerously through a number of Suffolk villages and on the A14 which ended in a crash in which a woman was injured on March 25.

Over, 48, is a senior figure behind the Suffolk Show and is a well-known farmer with 500 acres of land in the county.

During the hearing, it was claimed Over had not realised he was being chased by a police car, despite the unmarked Skoda’s lights flashing behind him.

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Over drove his Toyota Land Cruiser out of The Bear Inn in Beyton dangerously through Tostock, towards Elmswell, along the A14 and then coming off and ending with an accident in the Wetherden area.

He collided with a Mazda driven by carer Lucy Woodley, who suffered a broken arm and pain to her left ankle.

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Lesla Small, prosecuting, said Pc Andrew Sedgwick had been driving behind Over from Beyton and how he turned on the siren and lights when he saw Over mount the grass verge a number of times and cross a white line in the middle of the road.

She said once the police lights went on, the Toyota accelerated away. She said during the pursuit, Over drove above the speed limit and “pulled straight out” of junctions “without any consideration”.

She said even after the crash, during which Over’s airbag inflated, “the driver was still attempting to away” - something strongly denied by the defence.

In her police statement, which was referred to in court by Ms Small, crash victim Ms Woodley, who was driving a Mazda, told how she tried to swerve left and break to avoid the collision.

Despite her efforts, she said, there was an “enormous bang” and then silence.

Ms Small told how during police interview Over had not seen the police lights and was driving in fear because of problems he had experienced following a previous land sale.

“He said he had no strategy beyong getting away from the vehicle,” she said.

Tim Ridyard, for Over, did not go into details explaining why he thought the police car chasing him posed a threat.

“The background is a unique set of events,” he said. “There was a particular catalyst. We are dealing with a defendant who in respect of whom these proceedings have had an absolutely traumatic effect.”

He said the dangerous elements of driving happened towards the “back end” of the incident.

“He would like to be able to make amends (to Ms Woodley),” said Mr Ridyard. “The episode itself is completely out of character.”

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