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“Maniac” danger driver led police on 70mph-plus chase through Carlisle

Luke Whitfield

A MOTORING “maniac” has been sentenced for dangerous, high speed Carlisle driving which was described by a PC who gave chase as “appalling”.

A police vehicle used to pursue Luke Robert Colin Whitfield’s BMW hit a top speed of 73mph within a 30mph city zone just after 11-20pm on September 8.

In a BMW car carrying three passengers, 20-year-old Whitfield ran red lights, forced other motorists to take evasive action and overtook on a blind bend in the face of oncoming traffic, including a bus.

Prosecutor Tim Evans told Carlisle Crown Court a journey of just under four and a half miles which should have taken 11 minutes took just five and ended with Whitfield’s arrest.

A police officer who gave chase later said the standard of the defendant’s driving was “appalling”, and had put others at risk. That officer stated: “There were several incidents during the pursuit that could have ended in fatality.”

Whitfield, previously of Wigton Road, Carlisle, and now living and working as a chef in Scotland, admitted dangerous driving, and was sentenced today (FRI). Said to be “thoroughly ashamed of himself”, he admitted to his barrister he had been “stupid”, and an “idiot”, having driven off that night wrongly thinking he wasn’t insured.

Judge Andrew Jefferies QC observed Whitfield had been “driving like a manic”. But in a bid to curb his offending, the judge suspended eight months’ detention for two years, ordering Whitfield to complete 30 days’ rehabilitation, serve a two-year driving ban and sit an extended re-test.

“Not only were you a risk to yourself, you were a risk to the passengers in your car; you were a risk to other road users and you were a risk to any pedestrians,” Judge Jefferies told Whitfield as he listened from the dock.

“It is fluke – and fluke alone – that you are not sitting there facing something much more serious than the charge you are.”

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