Pair rammed police car in bid to escape

Alex Clarke (5576316)

Justin Jones (5576321)

First published in News

TWO Pontypool men who rammed a police car while trying to escape in a car they took from a driveway were jailed.

Justin Jones, 28, and Alex Clarke, 26, started up a Mazda MX5 they found on a driveway on Priory Street in Usk in the early hours of March 15 this year and drove away in it, with Jones at the wheel.

But the noise of the engine woke owner Harry Gibson, who went to the window and after seeing that his car was missing phoned the police, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

One police officer returning to Blackwood police station saw the car turn in front of him and switched on his blue lights.

But after hearing a “loud roar from the engine”, he saw the car pick up speed and drive away, Ian Kolvin, prosecuting, told the court.

The officer told the control room what was happening and followed the car towards Park Terrace in Blackwood, a residential street with cars parked either side and space for just one car to drive down the road at a time.

Jones, of Lasgarn View, drove the MX5 down the road “with no intention of slowing or stopping”, the court heard, although there was another police car coming the other way down.

“There was effectively a head on collision between the MX5 and the police car,” Mr Kolvin said, “The engine was still going. [Jones] reversed the car, this time hitting the other police car. He drove forward, again hitting the [second] police car.”

One officer got out of his car and approached with his taser but Jones “ignored what the officer was saying to him. The officer used his taser and that caused Mr Jones to stop what he was doing”, Mr Kolvin told the court.

Jones and Clarke were arrested, while one of the officers had to be taken to hospital in a neck brace and on a spinal board as he had suffered whiplash.

Matthew Thomas, mitigating for both defendants, said they had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and that Clarke had merely been the passenger of the vehicle.

Judge Patrick Curran QC said: I’m satisfied that you, Jones, played the leading part. You caused injury and alarm to police officers. It was a very bad piece of driving. You Alex Clarke went along with him and you have to take your share of the responsibility.”

Both admitted aggravated vehicle taking with Clarke, of Lower Ty Gwyn Road, allowing himself to be carried in a motor vehicle which was driven dangerously.

Jones also admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

He was sentenced to a total of 20 months in prison and disqualified from driving for three years while Clarke was sent to prison for eight months and banned from driving for a year.

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