Banned driver held woman captive during 90mph police chase
A motorist who drove over roundabouts and ran red lights five times in a 90mph police chase has been jailed.
Paul Foster, 32, from Hartlepool, was on prison licence and disqualified when police spotted him behind the wheel of a Peugeot car late at night.
Teesside Crown Court heard police received a phone call from a woman saying she was being held against her will and Foster had a knife.
Their onboard computer told them that the car was uninsured, so they turned round and followed him with flashing lights and sirens.
Prosecutor Nigel Soppitt told the court that Foster initially drove steadily through the centre of Hartlepool on November 18 before he raced off from Burbank Street to Station Road, Victoria Road, Brenda Road, Catcote Road and Belle Vue Way and Easington Road, driving over three roundabouts and through five sets of red lights.
Sparks were flying from the underside of the car when he drove it over a concrete central reservation.
As he drove the wrong way around another roundabout he almost collided with a tanker while police were pushing him towards a Stinger device to puncture the Peugeot’s tyres.
Mr Soppitt said that Foster had a woman passenger and the police received a phone call from her saying that she was being held against her will and that he had a knife.
The Peugeot, with shredded tyres, slowed down to 15mph before coming to a halt.
An armed response unit and a trained negotiator had joined the incident, which lasted 70 minutes, and Foster finally surrendered.
A lock knife was found in the car, which belonged to a friend, and Foster was arrested and interviewed.
He had 27 convictions for 65 offences from 1999 when he was 14, “for every type of driving offence”.
He was jailed for 18 months in 2005 for dangerous driving, later four years for wounding, jailed five years in 2014 for robbery with a knife and he was on prison licence until 2019.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said Foster was distraught after the breakdown of his 10-year relationship with his partner, with whom he had three children.
He was in the car with a woman friend when the police discovered that it was uninsured.
Mr Constantine added: ”There is very little I can say about the driving other than to point out that no injuries were caused to anybody or damage to property.
“He tells me that as he drove his mind turned to thoughts of injuring himself. He particularly regrets the events of that day.”
The judge told Foster, who appeared over a videolink from Durham Jail, that anyone involved in pursuits involving police officers receives a prison sentence.
The Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said: “It is aggravated by your previous convictions.”
Foster, of Lizard Walk, Hartlepool, was jailed for 22 months and disqualified for three years until he passes an extended driving test after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, having an article with a blade, no insurance and driving while disqualified.