A GRIEF-STRICKEN man who tried to avoid speeding fines by using his dead wife’s name has narrowly avoided an immediate prison sentence.
But Judge Peter Benson said he had “grave misgivings” about suspending Christopher Bingley’s six-month jail term.
He told Bradford Crown Court he was persuaded not to lock him up because of the impact it would have on his young daughter.
Bingley, 44, admitted three charges of acts intended to pervert the course of justice but Judge Benson rejected his claims to have been acting in a state of confusion.
The judge highlighted Bingley’s previous convictions which included offences of driving while over the limit and driving while banned more than a decade ago.
“Each of these acts involved you forging details and that was a deliberate course of conduct and I don’t accept that it was out of confusion,” the judge told Bingley.
“And it’s set against, albeit some time ago, your background of ignoring road traffic laws. It seems to me these were deliberate attempts to avoid the consequences of speeding.”
The judge said what weighed most heavily with him was the situation of Bingley’s daughter and he was just persuaded to suspended the jail term for two years.
As part of the suspended sentence order Bingley will be subject to a four-month electronically-monitored home curfew between 7pm and 6am.
He was also banned from driving for nine months.
The court heard yesterday that Bingley was acting on “auto-pilot” when he repeatedly filled in speeding notices sent out in his dead wife Joanne’s name.
In fact Bingley, who had previous convictions for motoring offences, had been behind the wheel of his wife’s Jeep Cherokee when he was caught speeding on four occasions between August 2010 and April 2011.
Prosecutor Shamaila Qureshi said three fixed penalty notices were paid using Joanne Bingley’s details and nine penalty points were put on her licence, but after the fourth incident the case was listed to be heard at Barnsley Magistrates’ Court because his wife faced being disqualified from driving under the totting up procedure.
Bingley attended at the court building with a coroner’s letter and said his wife had passed away, but when further enquiries were made by the police the video footage showed that the vehicle driver was a white male.
When he was questioned by police Bingley said he had been filling in a lot of legal forms and didn’t recall the speeding documents.
He said he had probably been driving the car, but said he was under a lot of pressure following his wife’s death.
“He said he was on auto-pilot in the period of time after his wife’s death,” said Miss Qureshi.
The court was told that unemployed Bingley’s world had been destroyed over the past two years since his wife’s tragic death.
Mrs Bingley, 39, was killed after she threw herself in front of a First Trans-pennine train from Hull to Manchester, near Deighton station on April 30, 2010.
Bingley blamed his wife’s death on post-natal depression (PND) and set up a charity to highlight the illness in February last year.
He stood down from the charity when the court case began.
Lawyer Claire Moran told Judge Benson that her client had now resigned from the charity to avoid any adverse publicity affecting its work and she also revealed that he faced bankruptcy proceedings and possible eviction from his home in Allison Drive, Fartown.
Miss Moran said Bingley was the sole carer for his daughter and although arrangements had been made for his parents to look after the girl if he was jailed any separation from the child would be detrimental.