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Banned County Durham driver topped 123-mph in police chase

A YOUNG banned driver exceeded 123-miles per hour at the wheel of his girlfriend’s car while trying to shake off police pursuing him, a court heard.

Luke Wilson was subject of a suspended prison sentence, for failing to stop after an accident, imposed in January, at the time of the latest motoring misdemeanour, last month.

Durham Crown Court was told after a previous driving disqualification Wilson had to pass an extended test to be allowed to legally take to the roads.

Despite not having taken such a test, he was spotted by police driving a Volkswagen Passat in Sherburn Hill, in mid-afternoon, on October 31.

Despite police signalling him to stop, Wilson accelerated away and on the A181, at Byers Garth, was on the wrong side of the carriageway when he almost caused a collision with an oncoming vehicle as he was travelling at 70-mph.

The female driver of the other car managed to swerve out of the way, and said she feared for the lives of herself and her young child passenger.

Joe Culley, prosecuting, said the Volkswagen was driven at 112-mph still on the wrong side of the road, and then went over a roundabout at above 123-mph.

Wilson then made a right-hand turn passing a ‘no entry’ sign onto residential streets, Durham Road and King’s Road, in Wingate, at between 70 and 80.

Mr Culley said it was at a time when children were about “trick or treating” at Hallowe’en.

Wilson finally came to a halt, got out of the Volkswagen and surrendered himself to police.

Mr Culley said the entire incident lasted only six minutes on wet roads already soaked by heavy rain earlier that day.

Wilson told police he was going to the shop for his seriously ill grandmother and “became upset” at her plight.

He claimed he thought his driving ban had ended a week earlier, but Mr Culley said Wilson was classed as disqualified until he passed an extended test, which he had not done.

The 27-year-old defendant, of Church View, Ludworth, admitted dangerous driving, while disqualified and with no insurance.

Mr Culley said Wilson’s record of 18 offences includes two previous convictions for dangerous driving, and two of failing to stop after an accident, all since February 2019.

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, told the court: “This young man made a grave mistake by driving that day.”

He said his client was concerned for the health of both his grandparents, with whom he was living, at the time, but is aware by choosing to drive and then putting people at risk, he will now be receiving his first full custodial sentence.

Judge James Adkin told Wilson it was, “a bad example of prolonged dangerous driving, at grossly excessive speed”, posing, “a serious risk of serious injury or even death for other road users.”

Imposing an 18-month prison sentence, the judge also banned him from the roads for a further 33 months.

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