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Gloucestershire Business News

Jail for Stroud man who drove through Cheltenham at more than 100 miles per hour

A 21 year old Stroud man took a friend's car without permission and drove dangerously at speeds of over 100 miles an hour through winding country roads and built-up areas from Cheltenham to Stroud - with police in hot pursuit, a court heard.

Ashwin Anthony of Westward Road, Cainscross, Stroud was jailed for a year by Recorder Thomas Brown at Gloucester Crown Court.

Anthony had been convicted of six offences by Cheltenham magistrates at an earlier hearing - aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, drink-driving, driving while disqualified, failing to stop and driving without insurance - and he was appearing for sentence.

The court was shown footage from a camera in the pursuing police car which gave chase at speeds of over 100 mph from Cheltenham, through Shurdington and Painswick and finally to Stroud.

Prosecuting barrister Caiglhi Taylor said: "In April this year the defendant was banned from driving for excess alcohol and he committed these offence just two months later on June 15.

"A friend of his, Samuel Stanton, drove the defendant to Cheltenham in his Vauxhall Astra where they went clubbing near Rodney Road at about midnight.

"At about 3am the defendant took his friend's car keys which were lying on a table and he and another friend took the vehicle to drive home."

The court then heard that due to the speed Anthony drove a passing police car followed and a chase ensued.

"The defendant drove straight through a set of red traffic lights on the A40, accelerated up to 70 mph and then went around a roundabout the wrong way," said the barrister.

Police turned on their sirens and flashing blue lights but the defendant accelerated to 100mph on the A46 Shurdington Road, the court heard.

"He overtook a lorry at 95 mph, crossed over the central white lines, drove on the wrong side of the road and momentarily lost control f the vehicle," said Ms Taylor.

He drove through the village of Painswick at speed, exceeding 20mph and 30mph zones at 90 miles an hour and hit the kerb, the court was told.

"The police helicopter was deployed and a stinger was placed across the road but the nearside front wheel of the Astra was damaged and the vehicle stopped in Stroud," said the barrister.

The defendant then got out of the car and ran away with the police in pursuit on foot," said Ms Taylor.

"The defendant was eventually found hiding in some bushes in the garden of a private dwelling and the defendant was arrested," said the barrister.

Anthony was breath-tested and gave a reading of 60 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35 micrograms.

He told police that he had taken his friend's Vauxhall Astra because he did not have enough money for a taxi and he panicked when he saw the police car.

Ms Taylor concluded: "There is every aggravating feature possible in this case - driving dangerously at high speeds in built-up areas, driving while disqualified, drink-driving, taking a vehicle without the owner's consent and failing to stop."

Defending lawyer Joe Maloney said: "Fortunately it was late at night and nobody was killed or hurt.

"When my client first was shown the DashCam footage he was genuinely shocked and very remorseful.

"He is still friends with Samuel Stanton and his actions demonstrated his immaturity.

"My client is genuinely sorry for what he did."

Sentencing Anthony to 12 months in jail and banning him from driving for three years, the judge said; "Your actions could so easily have ended in death.

"Your dangerous driving was for a prolonged period and you tried to outrun the police.

"Even when your car had to stop you got out and ran away."

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