Banned driver put pal in frame

Alexandra Ryan leaving Hartlepool Magistates' Court
Alexandra Ryan leaving Hartlepool Magistates' Court

A BANNED driver who was snapped speeding let an innocent friend take the blame for her motoring offence.

Alexandra Ryan, 23, claimed her boyfriend’s sister was behind the wheel after she was caught driving over the speed limit while disqualified from roads for six months.

Ryan kept up the lie for months after having all the paperwork sent to her sister’s address.

She pinned the blame on her boyfriend’s sister Ruth Ann Atkinson who was fined £80 by Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in her absence and slapped with three penalty points.

She later had her licence revoked for failing to hand her driving licence in to the court for the points to be added.

Ryan was snapped by a mobile police camera in West View Road, Hartlepool, on May 25 last year.

Jacqueline Edwards, prosecuting, at Teesside Crown Court, said: “When a notice of intended prosecution was sent to the defendant she nominated Ruth Ann Atkinson as being the driver of the vehicle at the relevant time.”

Ryan gave Miss Atkinson’s address as Dodsworth Walk, Hartlepool, which was actually Ryan’s sister’s house.

Another notice was sent to that address followed by a letter threatening a summons when they were not answered.

In September, Ryan told the Central Ticket Office that Miss Atkinson was on holiday but knew about the offence.

A summons was later served which Ryan returned to court in Miss Atkinson’s name.

In January the DVLA wrote to Miss Atkinson to say her licence had been revoked for not surrendering it to the court.

Miss Edwards added: “Miss Atkinson became aware for the first time about the offence when she was contacted by the DVLA and contacted Hartlepool Magistrates Court to inform them she knew nothing of the offence.”

The conviction was dismissed and Ryan, a call centre worker, was arrested after a police investigation.

She admitted driving while disqualified, attempting to pervert the course of justice and driving without insurance.

Anthony Dunne, mitigating, said: “There are few offences which are more difficult to justify than one which results in a friend or family member falling under suspicion and in this case went further than that, actually having to go to court and clear their name.”

He said the lie was made through a combination of “stupidity and ignorance” and Ryan thought it would just go away.

Mr Dunne added: “She realises now that belief was inexcusable and she deeply regrets the inconvenience and shame that she caused Miss Atkinson.

The court heard that Miss Atkinson has forgiven Ryan and even provided a reference to the court.

Ryan, of Dodsworth Walk, Hartlepool, was given six-months prison suspended for 12 months with supervision and banned from driving for a year.

Judge Peter Bowers said: “This was deliberate, it was prolonged.

“You and others have got to understand that this is a very serious matter.”