Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:54 UK

Soldier who drove at 143mph on M40 escapes driving ban

A soldier who drove at 143mph (230km/h) on the M40 in Warwickshire has been allowed to keep his licence so that he can save lives in Afghanistan.

Kameron Edmondson, 20, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, from Blackburn, Lancashire, had pleaded guilty to speeding in July.

He had thought he was being chased, Warwick Crown Court heard.

The judge said it set a bad example but without his licence the soldier could not help to clear roadside bombs.

'Appalling behaviour'

Earlier the prosecution dropped a dangerous driving charge against Mr Edmondson, who it acknowledged had previously had a clean licence and had been driving more slowly before he sped past an unmarked police car.

Judge Marten Coates told him:"You richly deserve to be disqualified because of this appalling behaviour on the motorway, which is what I was going to do."

He said imposing a driving ban would prevent Mr Edmondson from being able to train for his military role in Afghanistan.

"It is a matter of balancing two different public interests, and the saving of lives must be the more important.

"I must allow you to remain in the role you do, which is essential for our armed forces."

Judge Coates said at Friday's hearing that Mr Edmondson would not be on the roads for long before going on his next tour of duty.

The soldier was given six points on his licence, fined £300 and ordered to pay £80 costs with a £15 surcharge.

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