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Sailor drove 100mph in police chase along A14 before crashing into field, court hears

PUBLISHED: 13:58 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 09 October 2018

Magistrates Court, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Magistrates Court, Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A Navy sailor reached speeds in excess of 100mph while being chased by police along the A14 near Newmarket.

Able Seaman Thomas French, 22, of Greenacre Close, Mundford, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court today to driving without due care and attention.

Prosecuting, Corinne Gook-Hurren said officers had approached French at around 2.15am on Sunday, March 11, while his Seat Ibiza was parked in Newmarket High Street.

He was sitting in the drivers seat with the engine off, and was told not to drive the vehicle anywhere.

Mrs Gook-Hurren said around 90 minutes later officers saw the car had been parked somewhere else in the town.

“They noticed later on that the vehicle was in front of them,” she said.

“They stopped and turned around and followed it into Newmarket.

“As they came up behind the car it sped off at high speed.

“They reached 100mph but could not gain any ground on the defendant’s vehicle.”

The officers called for back up before spotting French’s car in a field.

“While on the A14 near Tuddenham, they noticed there were orange lights flashing in a field,” said Mrs Gook-Hurren.

“When they got nearer they saw it was the defendant who was driving.”

Officers conducted a breath test on French but he blew a negative reading.

Representing himself, French said he had drank around four or five pints of beer during the evening but had stopped hours before he got behind the wheel as he was acting as the designated driver.

He said he had ‘learnt his lesson’.

“When it happened I just panicked,” he said.
“I have never been in a situation like that before. I am sorry for my actions. As a military man I will learn from my mistakes.”

Presiding magistrate Andrew Wade warned French it could have ended in tragedy.

“Your car ended up in a field,” he said. “The consequences could have been tragic. I think you have been very lucky.”

French was handed a £200 fine, given six points on his licence and made to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

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