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Banned driver crashes into police car

A BUNGLING thief who tried to make off with a car after getting plastered at a mate’s wedding had his getaway cut short – when he ploughed straight into a POLICE CAR.

 

Inept robber Patrick Cawley, 27, wrote off the patrol vehicle after he rammed in to the driver’s side.

 

Police officers had to smash the driver’s window and use pepper spray to subdue Cawley when he tried to flee in the stolen Vauxhall Vectra.

 

And now the would-be thief, who was twice over the drink-drive limit, has been jailed for 16 months.

 

James McLernon, prosecuting at Northampton Crown Court, said officers were on patrol in Thorplands, Northampton just before midnight on Saturday, October 1.

 

As Cawley sped down the road in the stolen car, an officer tried to flag him down as he drove, but the car was soon seen speeding back towards him.

 

He said: “About 40 metres down the road, the car parked up and the officers approached the vehicle and it was at this point the marked police vehicle pulled into the road and they saw the vehicle driven by the defendant lurch towards them.

 

“It appeared the hand brake had not been disengaged.”

 

The court heard Cawley’s car rammed into the driver’s side of the police vehicle at about 20mph, causing both officers inside to suffer neck and back whiplash injuries.

 

The police vehicle also had to be recovered as it was undriveable, the court heard.

 

Mr McLernon said that Cawley was only stopped when an officer managed to pull the keys from the ignition before hauling him from the vehicle.

 

A test revealed he had 85 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – more than twice over the legal limit of 35mg.

 

It also emerged he was a serial banned driver having been jailed and disqualified for three years in December for similar offences, as well as in 2003, 2007 and 2008.

 

Cawley, from Blackthorn, Northants, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified, drink driving, driving without insurance and aggravated taking of a vehicle.

 

Recorder Edward Hess, who jailed him for 16 months, also banned him for another four years.

 

He said: “On December 17 last year, you appeared before this court for four counts identical to the ones for which you appear before me today.

 

“You have a very bad record indeed for driving offences.

 

“You were sent to prison and I’m told you only emerged from prison on August 18. I’m also told you want to address your alcohol problems but there is very little sign of you doing that.

 

“But it has to be said you apologised and have realised the stupidity of your actions. You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, that said, there’s very little else that can be said in your favour.”

 

Claire Howell, mitigating, asked the judge to impose concurrent rather than consecutive sentences.

 

She added: “It was a short incident, perhaps seconds rather than minutes. It was not his intention to hit the police car – he was trying to get away but because of the alcohol, his spatial awareness was not what it should have been, not least because it stopped him getting away.”

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