Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

No jail term for '173mph' driver

Tex O'Reilly
Tex O'Reilly sold his Lotus Elise after the incident

A motorist allegedly clocked at 173mph (278km/h) by police has avoided a jail term after prosecutors failed to prove his car was capable of such a speed.

Police caught Tex O'Reilly, 36, from Canal Bridge, Willington, speeding on the A515 in Derbyshire.

At Derby Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving after travelling in his Lotus Elise at 105mph (169km/h) in a 50mph zone in July 2008.

O'Reilly was fined 5,000 and given a two-year driving ban.

Lotus sold

Prosecutors insisted the officers' speed recording device was reliable.

But defence lawyers successfully argued O'Reilly's car, which was unmodified, was not able to reach 173mph after Lotus confirmed the car had a top limit of only 127mph (204km/h).

Handing O'Reilly his fine and ban, Judge Andrew Hamilton said: "May I make it absolutely clear that had you been driving at 150mph (241km/h) you would have been going immediately to prison.

"However you were not driving at 150mph, you were driving at 105mph and, for whatever reason, the prosecution have accepted that basis of plea and that puts the case in a different light."

Speaking outside court, O'Reilly said: "I accept my ban...I knew I was going to get banned. I take full responsibility for it.

"The fine's stung me a bit in the pocket but I'll pay that off by the date they've told me."

He added he had since sold the Lotus and his current car, a Ferrari, would be put into storage for the duration of his driving ban.

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173 mph would have been the fastest ever recorded speed on a British road



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