A BANNED motorist who led police on an early-morning 108mph car chase has been convicted of dangerous driving.
Peter Owens told a jury at Teesside Crown Court he had been to the set of the television programme Emmerdale Farm in North Yorkshire before he was driven back to his home in Hartlepool.
“There were five of us in the car,” he said. “I’m not prepared to name the driver, but it wasn’t me.”
Several police officers gave evidence to say four people emerged from the Subaru Forester after it came to rest on a grassed area, next to the Oakesway Inustrial Estate, Hartlepool.
The Subaru Forester had been chased by six police cars, a dogs van and the force helicopter and raced through residential streets in Hartlepool at more than twice the speed limit, Teesside Crown Court heard. The car initially sped away from police on the A19 south of Hartlepool, before turning off at the A179 and racing at 71mph in the 30mph limit in West View Road.
Yesterday Owens’ 23-year-old son David told the jury he was a passenger in the car.
“I was in the back with my dad,” he said. “I can’t read or write, so I don’t know where we went.
“I’m not saying who was driving because I’m scared of him, and I don’t fancy a good hiding.”
Sergeant David Carr told the jury he was in a police car during the chase, and recognised Peter Owens as the driver.
Prosecutor Paul Abrahams said when Owens was interviewed by police, he said there was a man sitting behind him.
“Owens had already said there was a man in the front passenger seat,” Mr Abrahams told the jury. “By saying there was someone behind him, Owens accidentally named himself as the driver.
“The truth is there was no mysterious fifth man, just as in real life there is no Emmerdale Farm.”
Owens, 44, of Miers Avenue, Hartlepool, denied dangerous driving, and driving while disqualified, both on June 26 last year.
He was convicted after a two-day trial.
The court heard Owens is due to be sentenced for a separate offence of dangerous driving, and has recently been arrested for affray.
The Recorder, Mr Edward Bindloss, said: “It is desirable all these matters are dealt with together.”
Recorder Bindloss remanded Owens in custody.
He will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.