AFTER crashing after a high-speed chase with the police, a Coventry man fled from the scene and then got his girlfriend to claim her car had been taken in a burglary earlier that day.
But Kieron Coleman was jailed for 14 months after a jury at Warwick Crown Court saw through his ruse.
Coleman (27) of Salford Close, Stoke, Coventry, was found guilty of dangerous driving in his girlfriend’s BMW, which he had denied.
Prosecutor William Dudley said that at about 1.30pm on August 12 last year, a police officer turned into Catherine Street in Hillfields.
He immediately recognised the driver of a BMW 3 Series coming towards him as someone he had dealt with before, although he could not put a name to the person at that stage.
“It was quite a narrow street, and they were driving very slowly, so he had quite a long period of time to look into the BMW. He couldn’t remember his name, but he knew the person was linked to an address in Salford Close.
“He turned his police car round and began to follow the BMW, but almost immediately it sped up, so the officer put on his blue lights and began to follow.
“For about a couple of miles he saw the defendant driving too quickly, not stopping at give-way junctions, and overtaking when he should not have done so,” said Mr Dudley.
In the end the officer and a colleague who had joined the pursuit lost sight of the BMW.
But a few minutes later the police were informed that it had crashed not far away in Purcell Road, damaging two other cars, one of which was written off.
When they got there, the driver was nowhere to be seen, but in the BMW were a number of letters addressed to Coleman – and further checks showed the car was register to his girlfriend.
Then at 4.30pm his girlfriend contacted the police to report that she had been burgled earlier in the day and her car stolen.
Coleman was arrested 10 days later and interviewed, and Mr Dudley said: “That was his opportunity to tell the police it was not him driving or to tell the police that his girlfriend had reported the car stolen, and to tell the police where he was. But he told them nothing and replied ‘no comment’ to all questions.
“You may feel that is not the behaviour of an innocent man,” commented Mr Dudley, who pointed out that a woman who saw the aftermath of the crash and the driver running away gave a description which matched Coleman.
And shortly after he had fled, an Audi had turned up at the scene and someone from that car took something from the BMW, locked it and left with the key.
Mr Dudley suggested to the jury: “You may feel that isn’t the behaviour of someone who has just stolen a car after a burglary. Would they return to the stolen car and lock it?”
After the jury returned its verdict, Judge Peter Cooke observed that Coleman had a previous conviction for dangerous driving involving a police pursuit, as well as other matters to do with drugs, although nothing more recent than 2015.
Asking for an adjournment for a pre-sentence report, Stuart Clarkson, defending, said: “He’s a different man to the one of five years ago.”
Suggesting that although it passed the custody threshold, ‘something else can be tried,’ Mr Clarkson said Coleman’s partner and their two children would suffer if he was jailed.
But rejecting the application, Judge Cooke commented: “Not your best point. Let us not lose sight of the way this trial has concluded. It was undoubtedly a sham burglary. There is a school of thought that she is quite lucky not to be a defendant.”
Jailing Coleman and banning him from driving for three years and seven months, the judge told him: “It has been suggested you be made subject to a suspended sentence.
“I take the view that for your second high-speed pursuit involving dangerous driving, and causing significant damage to three vehicles, that is a non-starter.”
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