A teenager who led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen car before crashing it fled from court after being told that he faced being locked up.
District Judge Michael Fanning did decide to jail Philip Pickering for his “awful driving” which saw him smash into a garden wall with a 14-year-old passenger still inside the vehicle.
But as he retired to consider the sentence the 18-year-old declared: “I’m not going to prison” – before storming out of Kirklees Magistrates’ Court.
The drama unfolded after the Huddersfield court heard how the teenager led police on a prolonged chase through residential streets, reaching speeds of 85mph before finally losing control of the Ford Focus stolen from a delivery driver earlier the same day.
Due to concerns over the dangerous road conditions police had abandoned the chase but managed to arrest Pickering anyway after he crashed the car.
He then attempted to flee on foot with his two passengers, a 14-year-old girl and a youth aged 18.
Pickering pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, using a vehicle without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
The teenager first caught the attention of police at 5.45am as he drove along Commercial Street in Brighouse in excess of the 20mph speed limit.
The officer followed him as he clipped the kerb and drove around the roundabout twice before heading onto Clifton Common.
Bill Astin, prosecuting, said: “It was quite a steep hill and he seemed to be out of control and having problems negotiating the bends.
“He reached speeds of 55mph to 65mph where the speed limit is 30.
“The officer got permission to chase him and illuminated his blue lights as they went up Clifton Common at 70mph and reaching speeds of 80mph to 85mph.”
Pickering continued to demonstrate terrible driving as he hurtled along roads at speed, overtaking another car and then mounting the kerb at Halifax Road.
He then turned onto Windy Bank Lane in Liversedge at 80mph and, due to the damp road conditions, the officer decided that it was no longer safe to continue the chase.
Mr Astin said: “The Focus lost control and crashed into a front garden wall, causing extensive damage to the vehicle.
“Three people, including one female youth, alighted and there was a short foot chase before all three were detained.”
The court heard that the owner of the car had his keys stolen while he was carrying out his work as a delivery driver.
Pickering, of Arncliffe Road in Batley, claimed that he planned to move away from the area to avoid the friends who had been a bad influence on him.
Judge Fanning issued a warrant for his arrest when he ran from the courtroom as he left briefly to deliberate his sentence.
Sentencing him to 26 weeks in custody, he said: “This is awful driving which resulted in a crash with a 14-year-old and 18-year-old travelling in the car which had been stolen.
“There was a police pursuit and the manner of driving was so dangerous that this had to be called off but he crashed the car anyway, hence he was detained.
“He needs to learn that this sort of driving cannot be tolerated as do other members of the public.”
Judge Fanning also banned Pickering from driving for 18 months and he must take an extended retest before he drives again.
He told court security officers who arrived to escort the teenager into custody: “There’s nobody for you to take, but thank you.”
Pickering later returned to court and extra security officers were drafted into the courtroom to ensure that he remained as Judge Fanning delivered his sentence.
The teenager’s mother wept as he told him: “You left court and it’s a credit to you that you returned. I’ve explained the reasons why I have imposed a custodial sentence.
“The offence is just too serious and you have to understand that if you drive in this manner and people are put at risk you have to go to prison.
“It’s a deterrent sentence.”