Jailed: ‘petrol head’ who fled from police

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.
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A self-confessed petrol head with a “truly horrendous” record is behind bars after a police chase ended with him driving metres away from children.

Burnley Crown Court was told career criminal Michael Royal (24) who had been banned just eight days before, ended up careering near a school after driving down a narrow footpath in front of amazed officers.

The defendant has two previous convictions for aggravated vehicle taking, three for no licence, 10 for no insurance, seven for disqualified driving, two for driving without due care and attention and two for failing to stop.

The hearing heard he had told a probation officer: “I’m a petrol head. I can’t get enough of cars. This is how I live my life.”

Royal was locked up for 20 months by a judge who gave him the maximum she could and said the only way to protect the public from him was to keep him off the streets for as long as possible.

The defendant, of Pembroke Street, Burnley, had admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and no insurance, on July 26th. Royal was banned for 22 months and must take an extended retest.

Miss Lisa Worsley (prosecuting) said about 4-15pm two police officers, in a marked vehicle, saw Royal driving in Briercliffe Road, Burnley, and as he went into Marsden Street, they illuminated their blue lights. He failed to stop and accelerated to 50mph.

The defendant then turned into Newground Court and the police switched off their blue lights as it was clear he was not going to stop and they were not pursuit-trained.

Miss Worsley said Newground Court was a dead end with bollards leading into grass and a footpath.

“The officers thought he would stop there and abandon the car but to their amazement, he mounted the pavement, swerved around the bollards and continued to drive down the narrow footpath.”

The prosecutor said one officer described herself as “horrified” when she saw two children in the street, one of them just metres away as Royal dismounted the kerb. The officers lost sight of the vehicle. Royal was ultimately arrested and made no comment when interviewed.

Mr Robert Elias (defending) said he had been “disarmingly frank.”

“He takes issue with endangering any children. He’s clearly a skilful driver when permitted to drive by law. He’s flouting the disqualification by re-offending in a short period of time. However, this was a very short chase. They watched him get away is more like what it was.

Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt told the defendant: “It’s clear when you began your long career of dangerous driving, driving without insurance, driving without a licence and while disqualified that you were quite a young man, but you’re not a young man anymore. You’re supposed to be a man.

“Your record with cars is truly horrendous. The only way to keep the public safe from you is to keep you in prison as long as possible. I have given you the maximum. This will constantly be imposed upon you if you do this again.”