April ‘fool’ sent to jail for 80th offence of driving while disqualified

Paul Heard was jailed after being caught driving for the 80th time while banned Picture: SUFFOLK CO

Paul Heard was jailed after being caught driving for the 80th time while banned Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A kitchen porter has been jailed after being caught driving for the 80th time while disqualified.

Paul Heard drove a Jaguar X-Type into a herd of deer in the early hours of April 1 on the southbound carriageway of the A11 at Red Lodge, near Mildehall.

The 54-year-old reported the collision to police, who arrived to find he had been driving while disqualified and without insurance.

Heard, of Trory Street, Norwich, who was banned from driving until passing an extended test in May 2007, admitted both offences at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Lucy Miller said Heard, whose vehicle hit a number of deer at about 2am, told police he “did not think he was banned from driving” and that he had “organised insurance online” before making the journey.

Representing himself in court, Heard told magistrates he had been working as a kitchen porter and commis chef in Oxfordshire before the offence but had left the job following an argument with a colleague.

“I rather foolishly bought a car and went looking for other work,” added Heard, who claimed to have called the DVLA in advance and been told he was not required to pass an extended test before driving again.

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Heard was then presented with a record of his motoring endorsements by the court’s legal adviser and told that all DVLA staff had access to the same document when answering phone enquiries.

“If I’m sent to prison, I’ll lose everything,” Heard pleaded when magistrates learned he had received a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, at Norwich Magistrates’ Court last August for driving while disqualified.

Magistrates then considered Heard’s 31-page criminal record of 65 convictions for 325 offences, including 80 for driving while disqualified.

A bench of three magistrates decided to jail Heard for 16 weeks – also ordering him to pay £85 in costs and a £115 statutory fee towards victim services. He was given six penalty points for driving while disqualified and no separate penalty for driving without insurance.

Before sending him to the cells, presiding magistrate Christopher Day reminded Heard he must pass a driving test before contemplating getting behind the wheel in the future.

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