Taxi smashed by amputee

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AN amputee who drove a car while disqualified and crashed into a taxi has narrowly avoided being sent to jail.

Anthony Watt, who lost part of a leg in a motorbike accident two years ago, drove his Audi to the chemist for some painkillers after experiencing pain in his hip.

But police saw him drive into a taxi and investigated when Watt appeared to be unsteady on his feet.

The 25-year-old was banned from driving for 20 months in January last year.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “The defendant was seen sitting in the Audi and was witnessed by police to drive straight into a taxi before he got out the vehicle.

“He was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol.”

Watt failed a roadside breath test although was not found to be over the drink drive limit when he was tested at the station.

But his disqualification came to light and it was found he did not have insurance for the car he had bought just days earlier.

Watt was subject to a suspended sentence for assaulting a woman at the time of the new offences on July 14.

He was given a six-month prison sentence that was suspended for 18 months in August last year.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said Watt had bought the Audi because he was spending a lot on taxis and intended for his uncle to drive him until he got his licence back.

Mr Withyman said: “He had been having pain in his hip and therefore very foolishly went into town to get some painkillers from the local chemist.”

Watt, of Bruce Crescent, in the West View area of Hartlepool, admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

He was banned for another three months and given an 12-month community order with supervision.

He was also sentenced to a two-month curfew with an electronic tag between 9pm and 6am.

Judge Peter Armstrong said Watt could face tougher circumstances in future if he went on to breach the suspended sentence again.

He told Watt: “If you are foolish enough to breach the suspended sentence again or the order you may not be so lucky next time.”