Page last updated at 15:52 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

'Handbrake turns' driver jailed

judge's gavel

A Belfast man with a "simply appalling" driving record has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Judge Derek Rodgers told window cleaner Andrew Paul Morrow, 30, of Ardoyne Road, Belfast: "This is as bad as it gets, as far as driving is concerned."

Morrow was arrested on 9 February following reports of a car doing hand-brake turns in the Forthriver estate.

At one point he drove on the wrong side of the Woodvale Road forcing a motorist to swerve to avoid a collision.

A Crown lawyer said Morrow's car collided with two other vehicles resulting in the occupants of those cars sustaining minor injuries.

The court heard that when police arrived at the scene, they saw a car driven by Morrow travelling at speed along the Woodvale Road and driving through a red traffic light.

Officers used flashing lights and sirens in a bid to stop Morrow but he proceeded along the Shankill Road.

Apprehended

The car finally came to a halt after colliding with a telephone junction box close to Tennant Street.

As police apprehended Morrow, he climbed into the passenger seat.

He proceeded to head-butt a constable during arrest and gave false details to police.

Morrow also refused to provide a specimen of breath when he was taken to the police station.

During interviews, he admitted to several offences including dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit and assaulting a police officer.

He told officers he had no recollection of what had happened.

The prosecution lawyer said Morrow had 118 entries on his criminal record, 74 of which are driving related.

Troubled

She said five were for driving whilst unfit, two were for failing to provide a specimen and five were for dangerous driving.

A defence lawyer said his client had a troubled upbringing which included being a victim of paramilitary beatings.

He said Morrow had "drifted into criminality" and had abused drink and drugs and "kept bad company."

The lawyer said Morrow's driving had been "bizarre and reckless" but said that when he sobered up, he admitted all the charges against him.

Telling Morrow he had a "simply appalling" driving record, Judge Rodgers told him he will spend a year on probation when he is released from custody.



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