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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
U-turn motorway driver given ban
Ali Abdo
Abdo says he feels terrible and "still has dreams about it now"
A man who drove the wrong way down the M4 for nearly eight miles has been given a two year suspended jail term.

Ali Abdo, 68, originally from Yemen, was also banned from driving for five years at Swindon Crown Court.

The court was told he caused several accidents driving at 80mph near Swindon last February.

He was flagged down by frantic police signalling from the central reservation as he drove to Cardiff after picking his wife up from Heathrow Airport.

In court Abdo, who admitted the offences, was described as a nervous driver who had never driven on a motorway before.

'Dramatic' U-turn

The prosecution said he was actually given the correct directions by a cab driver but as he travelled the right way on the M4 towards his home in Cardiff, he became convinced for some reason that he was driving in the wrong direction.

He then pulled over onto the hard shoulder, completed a "dramatic" U-turn and drove seven-and-a-half miles back towards junction 15.

Abdo said he had a "panic attack" and believed after the U-turn that he was genuinely driving in the right direction.

He was slowed to 30mph by police who chased alongside him on the opposite carriageway.

They then raced on ahead, pulled over, jumped over the central reservation and stood on the carriageway signaling him to stop.

Once he pulled over near to Membury Services, police said he still did not realise what he had done.

His wife Fatma, 38, had to be helped out of the car and was taken to Great Western Hospital for treatment for severe shock.

Speaking outside the court, Abdo said he felt "terrible" and that he "still dreams about it now".




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