Jail for robber who smashed level crossing barriers in 100mph police chase

Williams smashed through level crossing barriers near Lakenheath railway station, Ipswich Crown Cour

Williams smashed through level crossing barriers near Lakenheath railway station, Ipswich Crown Court heard (stock image) Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A robber who smashed through a barrier at a Suffolk level crossing during a 100mph police chase has been jailed for 56 months.

Banned driver Marcus Williams caused £30,000 of disruption to services and damage to the barrier near Lakenheath railway station as he tried to escape from police after carrying out a robbery in Eriswell, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Police caught up with Williams at the crossing and he then smashed through the closed barriers in his Saab convertible at "significant risk" to him and others, said Jane Oldfield, prosecuting.

Officers discontinued the pursuit but arrested Williams in a church after he crashed his car and it caught fire.

Williams, 47, of Harrow Drive, Beck Row, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, robbery and two offences of criminal damage.

Sentencing him, Judge David Pugh said Williams had driven at speeds of up to 100mph and described his driving as "highly dangerous".

"The barriers were down and notwithstanding the considerable risk of harm to others you smashed through them," said the judge.

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He said that in addition to 10 convictions for driving while disqualified, Williams had two for dangerous driving.

In addition to being jailed, Williams was banned from driving for 52 months and ordered to take an extended retest.

The court heard that on July 24 last year Williams went to the home of a woman he'd been in a relationship with in Harrow Drive, Beck Row.

He falsely accused her of sleeping with another man and damaged a ceiling at the property with a dumbbell and kicked a door.

When the terrified woman fled to a neighbour's house Williams had kicked patio doors at the property, causing the glass to crack and fall into the lounge.

He then went to a barber's shop owned by Charles Rogers in Eriswell and robbed him of gold jewellery after pinning him on the ground outside the shop.

Police began following Williams as he was driving on the A1065 at Lakenheath in the direction of Mildenhall after becoming aware of the robbery.

During the chase that followed, Williams had overtaken vehicles on the wrong side of the road at speed and one driver had to do an emergency stop to avoid a collision.

Williams had also gone over a red light, said Miss Oldfield.

Oliver Haswell, for Williams, described the offences committed by his client as a "set of impulsive, ill conceived actions".

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