Knife-carrying danger driver fails in bid to have jail term cut

Court of Appeal

Court of Appeal

A dangerous driver who slipped a Stanley knife into his pocket as he was arrested for a terrifying car chase has been told by top judges he deserves every day of his jail term.

Michael Williams took the knife from the door of his car, just before officers apprehended him following a 10-minute chase around residential streets in Horden.

The 26-year-old, who offered no explanation for picking up the knife, was serving his sixth driving ban when he committed the offences in September last year.

A month later, he was locked up for two years and banned from driving for one year at Durham Crown Court.

He admitted dangerous driving, driving whilst banned, without insurance and possessing a bladed object.

Williams, of Camp Street, Peterlee, challenged his jail term and his driving ban at London's Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing they were 'too long' for his crimes.

But his complaints were rejected by three senior judges, who said neither his sentence nor his ban were 'excessive'.

The court heard officers discovered Williams had no insurance or MOT after carrying out a spot check on his car at about 10.15am on September 28.

He stopped the car, in which he was carrying three passengers, when officers indicated he should, but he then sped away as they got out of their car.

During the 10-minute episode of terrible driving, he mounted a kerb at speed, drove through traffic lights and went onto a grassed area.

Members of the public - including a mother with a pushchair - were nearby at the time.

His Rover 600 was eventually blocked in and officers approached to arrest him.

As they were coming towards him, he picked up the knife from inside the car door and put it in his pocket.

It was discovered when he arrived at the police station.

He was unable to give a reason for doing this - even when asked by the crown court judge.

Williams had a bad criminal record, made up of 72 offences, including robbery, arson and drugs supply.

He also had a number of previous convictions for motoring crime and this was his seventh driving ban.

His lawyers argued his jail term was over the top as there was no threat to officers and he had no prior convictions for having a weapon.

But, dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Treacy said the sentence could not be criticised.

Sitting with Mr Justice Jeremy Baker and Judge Eleri Rees QC, he added: "We consider that the judge was right to be concerned about the unexplained decision to place a Stanley knife in his pocket at a time when police officers were about to apprehend him.

"Given his amply demonstrated desire to evade the attentions of the police in the preceding minutes, we are satisfied that the situation was a dangerous one, but we recognise that no confrontation in fact took place - nor was any threat made in relation to the knife."