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Gloucestershire Business News

Boyracer in Cheltenham business park spared jail

A 29 year 'boy racer' has avoided jail yesterday (Thursday 13 September) despite badly injuring two spectators when he smashed into them while taking part in a hot-hatch 'cruise' gathering in Cheltenham.

Martin Jauncey, of Kyreside, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, attempted a handbrake turn in his red VW Polo and lost control - smashing into a crowd which included Ashley Hancox and Matthew Adams on 9th July last year.

They were badly injured and there were three other casualties - Vickie Reynolds, Scott Hutchins and Bradley Knapper, Gloucester crown court was told.

Jauncey admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was given an 18 month jail term suspended for 24 months with 30 rehabilitation activity sessions and 100 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Tim Hills showed the court mobile phone footage of Jauncey losing control of his car almost as soon as he had set off behind other similar cars. His VW spun through 180 degrees and careered backwards into onlookers on the left hand side of the road.

"The impact threw Matthew Adams up in to the air," the prosecutor said.

"He describes his injuries as severe concussion that required a brain scan, neck pain, lower back pain, restricted movement and a deep laceration to his arm."

Mr Hills said the injuries had a 'huge effect on his ability to go about his regular life'.

The court heard that due to being unable to work Mr Adams had lost his job and now suffers from anxiety and stress.

Mr Hancox was trapped between the Polo and a parked Subaru. This left him with a broken left ankle that required a cast, said the prosecutor.

Mr Hills related how the incident began.

"A number of people had gone to an industrial area, to see a parade of cars, to drive them up and down admire them," he said.

"This defendant went there in his VW polo.

"Witnesses noticed him driving up and down, initially at normal speed.

"There came a point where he tried to do a handbrake turn.

"He had his foot on the accelerator and brake to provoke smoke,

The judge said: "In a VW Polo? Ambition beyond reality."

Mr Hills replied: "He succeeded, went out of control. Moved through 180 degrees and spun backwards into kerb.

"The defendant got out, and was surrounded by people.

"The police arrived soon after. He admitted he was fully at fault, and had tried a handbrake turn," the prosecutor said.

The judge noted one witness described it as an: 'organised car cruise event' but said :"This was an impromptu event.

"There were no safety concerns or police involvement," he said.

"These are private events, not endorsed by the Gloucestershire Constabulary, that take place on a public highway," the judge noted.

Mr Hills said the VW was examined and found to have no mechanical defects.

The court heard that Jauncey had a previous conviction for careless driving ten years ago.

Jauncey's defence lawyer, Clare Fear, said "The guilt felt is felt keenly right from the start.

"He cannot quite believe the nature of the injuries he has caused. He is devastated.

"He wants to offer his sincere apologies, but was prevented from doing so because of the prosecution."

Ms Fear said her client had felt suicidal.

"He is under no illusions that you will be thinking of an immediate custodial sentence," she told the judge.

"The incident was not criminally sophisticated, but could be described as foolish misjudgement showing off in front of crowds.

"His passion is for cars. He painstakingly restored the VW.

"It can be described as his pride and joy.

"He found a social scene that has now been lost to him."

The judge described the incident as: "A crassly careless driving event."

He noted that 'even at an un-organised event, if you want to indulge in that activity you need to be responsible. He wasn't'.

The judge said to Jauncey: "What took place was grossly irresponsible. It was stupid. You were showing off.

"If you drive a car on a narrow road, with onlookers either side, and perform a handbrake turn it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see the risks.

"Can I state the obvious. You are an idiot driving the car the way that you did surrounded by spectators to look at cars passing by

"Why people want to gather on industrial estates and look at souped up cars is beyond me, but each to their own.

"It was a parade of vehicles. You chose to do a handbrake turn, and either your vehicle or your driving skills were ill equipped to deal with it."

The judge noted the 'many significant lasting injuries' the offence had caused.

"You could have killed someone," he told Jauncey.

But having considered references, and hearing that Jauncer was in work, the judge said: "Everything else about your life is in order.

"I take the view that I can reduce the sentence and suspend it.

"Larking around in cars on industrial estate comes at a heavy price."

The court heard that Jauncey's insurance was compensating the victims, and he was ordered to pay £440 in court costs and surcharges.

Jauncey was disqualified from driving for two years and ordered to sit an extended retest.

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