A Stetchworth man with no driving licence ‘drove like a lunatic’ as he led police on a high speed chase along narrow country roads near Newmarket, a court has heard.
But Joshua Stanbridge, who admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance, or a licence, avoided a jail term when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.
But Stanbridge, 22, a roofer of Strollers Way, had failed to stop not through fear of being in trouble with police, but because he was letting his father down, the court heard.
He had been spotted by a police patrol in Bury St Edmunds who thought he might be driving an untaxed vehicle.
The court heard police followed him using blue lights and a siren but, instead of pulling over, Stanbridge led officers on a high speed chase reaching speeds of up to 85mph.
He abandoned his Ford Focus car near farm buildings in Lidgate and hid in woodland, but after a police helicopter arrived he gave himself up.
Mitigating, Malcolm Plummer said: “It was an appalling piece of driving.” He said Stanbridge had been let down by his lift to work and decided to take the car, which he had renovated, but panicked when he realised police wanted him to stop.
Sentencing him to 12 months imprisonment suspended for two years, Judge David Gooding told Stanbridge: “It was lunatic driving.” He ordered him to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work, pay £200 prosecution costs, £100 victim surcharge and banned him from applying for a driving licence for 12 months.
He also imposed a 10-week 9pm to 4.30am curfew.