‘A miracle’ nobody was killed by dangerous driver during A14 police chase

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A driver who drove at speeds of up to 90mph on the A14 during a seven-mile police chase which ended when he collided with a lorry has been spared an immediate jail term.

Sentencing 21-year-old Tommy McDonagh to a suspended prison sentence Judge David Goodin described his driving as "horrifically dangerous" and said it was "nothing short of a miracle" that no-one was killed or seriously injured.

"To call this course of driving as reckless would be an understatement," said the judge.

He said it "was almost beyond belief" that he had driven the way he did during the police chase on August 6 this year.

McDonagh, of Woodfield Close, Enfield, admitted dangerous driving, driving without insurance and without a full driving licence.

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He was given a 14 month prison sentence suspended for two years, a 20 week curfew, 120 hours unpaid work and a ten day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also banned from driving for 12 months and was ordered to pay £150 costs and a £149 victim surcharge.

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Matthew Sorel-Cameron, prosecuting, said that police had been looking for the Nissan car driven by McDonagh following an alleged incident in Sudbury.

The car, which contained three passengers, was spotted by police on the A134 at Long Melford heading towards Bury St Edmunds at around 7pm and it was noticed that the vehicle's number plates had been changed.

The car was followed to Bury and on to the A14 in the direction of Cambridge and part of the chase was recorded by a police dash-cam and was played to the court.

During the chase on the A14, McDonagh had driven at speeds of up to 90mph and a police officer who was involved in the pursuit had described his driving as "some of the most dangerous" he'd ever seen.

The chase ended when the Nissan collided with a 44 ton lorry causing £4,000 damage and McDonagh and his passengers had run off but were arrested 90 minutes later in a transit van in Hertfordshire.

Simon Gladwell, for McDonagh, said his client was married and had a six month old baby and another one on the way.

He agreed that his dangerous driving could have resulted in a loss of life but said his client was lightly convicted and would benefit from a suspended sentence.

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