Businessman jailed after 100mph police pursuit which he branded as 'a bit of fun'

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

A businessman drove his sports car at 100mph in a bid to evade police officers because he feared he would fail a breath test if he was stopped, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Ian Clark, who is a director and chairman of his family-run company Linroyale Potatoes Ltd, was pursued by police for 27 miles in his attempt to avoid being caught.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said police attempted to halt Clark using a stinger device which punctured the tyres of his Aston Martin.

But Clark then continued driving on the wheel rims for another two miles with sparks flying from the vehicle.

He eventually came to a stop after leaving the road and driving through a paddock. He then went through two wire fences before his vehicle finally stopped in a field.

Mr Howes said police began their pursuit of Clark in Gainsborough town centre after he was reported as a suspected drink driver.

Clark was seen to go through a red traffic light and then headed along country roads to Owston Ferry and his home village of West Stockwith.

Mr Howes said: "Knowing he had been drinking and having a fear of being caught and breathalysed he attempted to evade the police.

"He could have stopped in Gainsborough town centre where he was first seen getting into his car. It was a distinctive car with a distinctive number plate."

The prosecutor said Clark drove at 80mph as he approached West Stockwith and hit 60mph in a 30mph stretch of road within the village.

Clark then drove to Gunthorpe reaching 100mph as he was coming out of Gunthorpe. He went back to Owston Ferry before ending up in the field at West Stockwith.

During the incident, which occurred at 2 am when there was virtually no other traffic on the roads, Clark drove into a police car, causing minor damage.

After the Aston Martin came to a stop Clark refused to get out. Officers smashed the windscreen and removed him but as they did so he said: "That was a bit of fun boys".

He was breathalysed with the reading being 37 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, just narrowly over the 35mgs limit but below the figure for which he would have been prosecuted.

Clark, 62, of Main Street, West Stockwith, admitted dangerous driving as a result of the incident on August 5. He was jailed for eight months and banned from driving for two years and four months.

Judge Andrew Easteal, passing sentence, told him: "This wasn't fun. The consequences could have been lethal. People could have been killed, including yourself, such was the manner and dangerousness of your driving.

"You used that very powerful vehicle in a way that was utterly and completely irresponsible because you thought you were over the limit.

"There is one inescapable conclusion. This is so serious that it warrants a prison sentence. In the circumstances I am not persuaded that it is appropriate to suspend that sentence."

Richard Thatcher, in mitigation, said Clark was the chairman and major shareholder of a company that employs 70 people.

"His remorse is genuine," he said. "He is utterly ashamed of what he did that night. He cannot begin to explain himself."

He said that a previous incident when Clark was attacked by men posing as police officers while driving an HGV in France may have affected his judgement.

Mr Thatcher said that Clark's dream had been to own an Aston Martin but since the incident he had put it up for sale through a dealer.