Speeding driver keeps licence after clocking 118mph on A12

Average speed cameras on the A12 between East Bergholt and Stratford St Mary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Average speed cameras on the A12 between East Bergholt and Stratford St Mary. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A forklift truck operator has been allowed to keep his licence after driving a Vauxhall Astra at almost 120mph along the A12.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Graham Cannon had denied the offence but changed his plea on the morning of an anticipated trial before magistrates in Ipswich on Thursday.

The 34-year-old admitted travelling at an average 118mph between Stratford St Mary and East Bergholt last summer.

His was one of 10,245 speeding offences processed last year in both directions of the 70mph stretch of A12, where average speed cameras were installed in August 2015.

Cannon, of New Road, Grays, said his reason for speeding was based on the belief his own safety was in danger at the time.

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“I hold my hands up. I realise I was speeding – but it was out of a fear for my life, rather than stupidity,” added Cannon, who went on to explain he had moved from Great Yarmouth to escape “the wrong circle of two or three people”.

The court heard how Cannon had been driving his daughter home to Great Yarmouth following a holiday, when he suddenly felt the need to accelerate away from two motorcyclists just before 7.45pm on August 23.

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“I thought I’d been seen by two people on motorbikes,” he said.

“One came up beside me and started shaking his fist. I automatically presumed they were looking for me.

“Admittedly, I was very tired after getting back from holiday.

“I know it was stupid and irresponsible, but when you’re scared for your life, you do silly things.”

Cannon, an agency worker about to take up full-time employment as a forklift truck operator, said he needed his driving licence to travel between sites on public roads.

Prosecutor Ian Devine, who had called a witness to court in expectation of a not guilty plea, asked magistrates to charge Cannon for the full £170 cost of taking the case to trial by denying the offence at an earlier hearing on May 4.

Magistrates put six points on Cannon’s previously clean driving licence, fined him £300 and ordered him to cover the full cost of a trial.

From August 2015 to May 2018, the SPECS average speed camera between East Bergholt and Stratford St Mary has picked up 28,822 offences.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner called Graham Cannon’s behaviour ‘reckless and irresponsible’.

In March, Tim Passmore was equally shocked to learn of Wattisham-based army captain James Golding, of Upminster, keeping his licence after driving his Aston Martin DB9 at up to 130mph on the same road.

Mr Passmore said: “I am disappointed to hear that yet again someone has been caught driving at excessive speed on this stretch of A12.

“Unfortunately this is not the first time I have been asked to comment on a driver caught driving at ridiculous speeds. I am sure readers will remember the army captain who was caught doing 130mph just a couple of months ago.

“I cannot understand how anyone could ever think there is an excuse for this reckless and irresponsible attitude.

“While I don’t know the specific details of this case, it seems this driver was extremely fortunate not to receive a lengthy ban.”

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