A DRIVER claimed he was fleeing a gun-wielding drugs gang when he was chased by police, a court heard.
Liam Ward, 28, appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court in Huddersfield yesterday accused of failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to stop for police.
He pleaded guilty to both charges.
The court heard how Ward was pursued by police in Heckmondwike High Street on July 8.
Prosecutor Alex Bozman said: “A road traffic collision occurred between a Seat Leon and a Skoda Octavia and there were minor injuries to the Skoda driver. Police were involved and pursued the Seat which was travelling along the High Street at high speed.
“Mr Ward was stopped and arrested. He made a full admission saying he ‘panicked’ when police asked him to stop.”
But Mr David Ward, defending, told the court that before the collision his client had ‘panicked’ and fled after a ‘drugs cartel’ threatened him with a shotgun.
He said: “A green Golf approached at the junction with Cawley Lane and what he thought was a gun barrel came out.
“His friend also saw it and shouted a warning.”
Mr Ward told the court his client had a previous conviction for possession of cannabis with intent to supply. He said his client was told by the ‘drugs cartel’ he owed £12,000 for the drugs which were seized.
Mr Ward requested his client’s police interview recording, during which he told police about the incident which happened minutes before the crash, but the details were not recorded in his notes.
Mr Ward said: “This is paramount to the incident.”
But he requested the case proceed and in mitigation told the court his client had passed his HGV test and has been offered employment.
He said Ward, of Russell Close, Heckmondwike, had fully complied with a community order of unpaid work and had ‘excellent’ reviews from probation.
Chairman of the bench Barry Lockwood told Ward: “We’ve listened to everything that’s been said and considered disqualification.
“But for these offences you will receive seven penalty points on your licence and a financial penalty of £110.”