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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 October, 2003, 17:28 GMT 18:28 UK
Pilot cleared of taking car
An airline pilot who wrote off a woman's 12,000 company car has been cleared of taking it without her permission.

John Fox-Smythe lost control of the new style Mini on a bend, then overturned it and ploughed into a field, after driving off from a pub near Horsham, West Sussex, a court had been told.

Mid Sussex Magistrates Court heard that Julie Langham, who had borrowed the car from work for the night, let the 45-year-old view the Mini after he said he was thinking of buying a similar model.

It was alleged he then "sped off" down the road against her wishes.

But at a further hearing in Horsham on Wednesday, magistrates found the Gatwick pilot not guilty of aggravated vehicle taking.

Mr Fox-Smythe, of Faygate Lane, Rusper, Horsham, was also cleared of refusing to give a blood sample in hospital after a police officer suspected him of drink driving.

The pilot, who had denied both charges, was grounded from flying for three months after the accident because of the head injuries he suffered.

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