The story of the police officer who, sent flying through the air by the driver of a stolen car, immediately got to his feet to pursue and arrest said driver, has made the national news this week.
The police officer, Dan Pascoe, was plainly very lucky to escape with only serious bruising.
While the media focus has understandably been on his heroism, there seems to have been little attention paid to the driver – his offences, and his subsequent punishment. They certainly weren’t mentioned on either the BBC or ITV news pieces I saw.
Unsurprisingly, this individual – one Lee Adamson – has a rather chequered history.
The court heard police followed up information the stolen car was being driven near junction 11 of the M25. After arriving at the stretch of motorway, they spotted the car and Adamson, from Hayes, Middlesex, who drove along the hard shoulder at ‘high speed’ after being seen. Police pursued Adamson at speeds of up to 90mph before the crash, the court heard. Adamson, who had 25 convictions for 53 offences, was on licence after being released from jail in March at the time of the crash.
53 previous offences, of which it is reasonable to assume a fair proportion were driving offences, given that he was already disqualified.
Lee Adamson was driving a stolen car, without insurance, without a licence (again, because he was disqualified), at 90 mph on the hard shoulder. He deliberately drove into a police officer, and then failed to stop after the accident.
How was he punished?
[The judge] sentenced Adamson to 18 months in prison for dangerous driving, four months for driving whilst disqualified and one month for resisting an officer. He was also disqualified from driving for two years and will have to take an extended test. No separate penalties were given for the other offences.
23 months in prison, with a 24 month driving ban.
Driving bans are served concurrently – so Adamson has effectively been banned from driving for… one month.
I doubt he will be taking that ‘extended test’ either – he’s getting straight back behind the wheel regardless.
Adamson is merely one among many criminals who have used repeatedly used vehicles in a lethal manner on Britain’s roads, criminals who the judiciary don’t seem to think deserve to be banned for life, only serving them with concurrent driving bans, that are effectively empty punishments, because they cannot drive anyway. I mention here two that I have posted about previously –
David Howard – who, like Adamson, rammed a police car and police officers, as well as other drivers, in my town of Horsham – was convicted of dangerous driving. But as a disqualification from driving for this offence is only of the order of 12 months, and Howard is serving a five-and-a-half year prison sentence, he will be free to drive upon his release from prison. Indeed, a driving ban is not even mentioned in any of the news articles I can find about his sentencing.
Likewise Terence Fowler – who sped through a level crossing seconds before a train passed, as well as hitting 90 mph on suburban streets – was also convicted of dangerous driving, but again, as he is serving a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, he will also be free to drive upon his release. Again, no mention of a ban in any news articles, presumably because it will disappear while he is in prison.
These criminals – and countless others – are simply not being taken off the roads. It is a sick farce.