A COVENTRY man has escaped being jailed despite breaking into a house while he was on bail for dangerous driving during which he crashed into a police car.
Billy Grantham had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and burglary.
But after spending time in custody on remand, Grantham (32) of Kirby Close, Foleshill, Coventry, was sentenced to 19 months in prison suspended for two years, with an 8pm-6am curfew for four months.
Prosecutor Mohammed Hafeez said that at 9.30pm on May 15 last year police officers on patrol in Coventry saw a VW Golf coming towards them at high speed on the wrong side of the road.
The Golf, driven by Grantham, had overtaken three cars in a line of stationary traffic, and the police driver had to swerve to avoid a head-on crash.
As the Golf sped off, the officers turned their car round to try to catch it, and came across it again in Stoney Stanton Road where they followed as it turned into a cul-de-sac.
They parked blocking the Golf in, and got out of their car to go over to talk to Grantham who then tried to drive off.
One of the officers took out her baton and struck the car window, telling Grantham ‘Don’t do it mate,’ as he reversed to try to get away, forcing her to move quickly out of his way.
He then sped forward, and she had to jump out of the way as the Golf, which had been stolen a couple of days earlier, hit the police car before mounting the kerb where it got stuck.
Grantham, who was banned from driving at the time, got out and ran off, but was caught and arrested.
When he was interviewed he disputed that his driving was dangerous and initially denied the charge before later changing his plea to guilty, pointed out Mr Hafeez.
On June 9, while Grantham was on bail, there was a burglary in which the keys to a Ford Fiesta were taken and the car was then stolen.
Although there was no evidence to link Grantham to that break-in, two days later the Fiesta was seen on the drive of a house in Stoneywood Road, Coventry.
A neighbour was suspicious because the family who lived there were on holiday, and he then saw a man leave the house and put something into the boot of the Fiesta before getting in.
As he kept watch while his partner called the police, he saw a second man emerge and get into the car before driving off.
Officers spotted the Fiesta parked in a street a little later, and as they approached it the occupants got out and ran off, leaving jewellery and other stolen property in the car.
Grantham, who had previous convictions for dishonesty, was later arrested, and was identified as having been the person in the passenger seat, added Mr Hafeez.
Sentencing Grantham and banning him from driving for 12 months, Judge Peter Cooke told him: “You could have no complaint if I sent you to prison today.
“But you have spent a while on remand, and you didn’t like it. I want to capitalise on the fact that you do not wish to remain in that environment.”