Danger driver who led police on chase at speeds of up to 80mph 'could easily have killed someone'

A dangerous driver who led police on an eleven minute chase at speeds up to 80mph ‘could easily have killed someone’, a court heard.

Ian Todd was caught speeding off from a petrol forecourt in South Shields on October 13 2020.

When police pursued him, the 31-year-old forced officers to chase his vehicle as he exceeded the speed limit by up to 50mph.

Nicolette Alistari, prosecuting, told the court that instead of slowing down he reached 70mph in a 30 zone before dashing around two roundabouts at 50mph and driving the wrong way around a third.

Ian Todd.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Todd continued to drive around a residential area at 80mph.

The chase lasted approximately 11 minutes before he abandoned the car on a grass area and fled the scene.

However, Todd was caught when he fell over and was arrested. It was then discovered that he was over the drink drive limit and had been driving the vehicle without insurance.

At a later date, on 29 September 2021, the defendant had called the police and was discovered on a large pylon with a "small kitchen knife".

He informed police that he wanted to jump down and commit suicide, saying: "Yeah, it will hurt but that's what I want".

The defendant then failed to attend court on 28 February 2022.

Todd pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving over the prescribed limit and driving with no insurance.

He also admitted possession of a bladed article, wasting police time and failing to attend court.

Rachel Hedworth, defending, said: "All of these offences, and he asks me to make no excuses on his behalf, are clearly intrinsically linked to, first of all, alcohol consumption and significant mental health problems.

"I do urge the court to have some sympathy with his case.

"A view is taken that Mr Todd is somebody deemed to be extremely vulnerable.

"Over a period of time from being a child to young adulthood he struggled time and time again with alcohol problems."

She added: "This is a man who will be assisted by the probation service.

"There is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation."

Mr Recorder Mark McKone KC told Todd: "You were involved in a police chase for between 10 and 11 minutes.

"You drove up to 80mph in a 30 zone.

"You could easily have killed someone.

"On the 29th September 2021 you were found with a small kitchen knife in a public place.

"Importantly you didn't threaten anyone with it.

"I agree that your mental health is a mitigating feature in this case.

"You need to thank Miss Hedworth for her powerful mitigation. That has persuaded me that the sentence can be suspended.

"You have now spent some time in custody. This is important because you now know what awaits you if you breach this order or commit offended in thefuture."

Todd, of Victoria Road, Durham, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment suspended for two years.

He must also complete a nine month alcohol requirement, thinking skills programme and 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also issued with a driving ban for three years and three months.