Banned Hartlepool driver who took grandmother's car caught by police dog with the same name

A rogue driver who took his grandmother’s car for a third time and took it on a joyride has been locked up.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 3:58 pm

Harlea Murray, who was already banned from driving, sparked an eight-minute police chase after he sneaked into his gran’s bedroom while drunk and took the keys to her Mini Cooper.

It was the third time he had taken it, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He drove from Hartlepool to Horden at speeds of up to 90mph before abandoning the vehicle in Horden.

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Cleveland Police dog Harley caught banned driver Harlea Murray from Hartlepool after driving his grandmother's car dangerously to Horden.

After being captured hiding in some bushes by a police dog – called Harley – the 20-year-old boasted about his driving saying he had “smoked” the police.

Murray’s grandmother called 999 after he took her keys in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday on August 31.

Shada Mellor, prosecuting, said: “Officers located the defendant driving the vehicle at 3.49am and a pursuit began.

"It involved three police vehicles. The defendant drove the vehicle dangerously through the streets of Hartlepool into the County Durham area.”

She said Murray drove without headlights, on the opposite side of the road, almost hit a traffic island and had to break hard to avoid colliding with another vehicle.

He abandoned the car on Shotton Road and was found by police dog Harlea which bit him on the leg after Murray goaded it.

Ms Mellor added: “He responded to arrest saying ‘I smoked you didn’t I?’”

He told police he was very drunk following a vodka binge.

Harlea Murray drove his grandmother's Mini Cooper dangerously before abandoning it on Shotton Road in Horden.

Murray later pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking where the driving was dangerous, driving whilst disqualified, and having no insurance.

Stephen Constantine, defending, said fortunately there was very little traffic on the road and nobody was hurt or property damaged.

Mr Constantine said the background to the offence was Murray fell back into drinking and drug taking after losing his home.

He said Murray had rebuilt bridges with his family and hopes to go back to college when he comes out of custody.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court, in Middlesbrough. Picture by FRANK REID

Murray, of Farndale Road, Seaton Carew, was given 18 months youth detention and a three years and nine months driving ban.

The judge, Recorder Anthony Dunne, said: “The fact that you took your grandmother’s car without her permission was very little thanks for the fact that she had taken you into her home.”

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