A MOTORIST who led police on a dangerous Carlisle pursuit which caused around £9,000 damage to officers’ cars has been spared immediate prison.
Matthew Neale’s Audi A4 initially clipped a moped on the city’s Warwick Road on the evening of July 15 amid a dispute with the teenage rider, who was forced to take evasive action and flee.
Police soon traced 43-year-old Neale, who was caught on dash-cam footage weaving along London Road and flouting road rules during a lengthy pursuit largely within the 30mph limit.
Numerous attempts were made to stop Neale, of whom prosecutor Holly Nelson told Carlisle Crown Court today (THURS): “He beckoned with his hands as if he wanted a chase.”
Officers trailed the Audi along Botchergate and minor roads, Neale repeatedly evading capture until police rammed and stopped his vehicle close to Nelson Bridge. Around £9,000 damage was caused to officers’ cars, and Miss Nelson said of Neale: “It was a prolonged period of bad driving involving deliberate disregard for others.”
He was arrested and later admitted careless and dangerous driving charges.
The court heard of his complex mental health background and a historic brain injury, although Marion Weir, defending, stated: “There is much improvement in his health since the offences.”
Concluding there was a “realistic prospect of rehabilitation”, Judge David Potter suspended a six-month jail term for a year. Neale, of St Helens Road, Carlisle, must complete a rehabilitation requirement, was banned from driving for two years and ordered to take an extended re-test.
“It was through luck rather than judgement on your part that no-one was injured in this protracted piece of bad driving,” said Judge Potter.