Hartlepool menace jailed after three years of chaos – including 100mph police chase

Peter Owens in his Hartlepool home.
Peter Owens in his Hartlepool home.

Public menace Peter Owens has been jailed for more than three years for a catalogue of crime including leading police on two 100mph police chases.

Owens, who has dozens of crimes on his record, twice tried to outrun a fleet of cops in separate escapades while he was already a banned driver.

Peter Owens in his Landrover on the beach at Seaton Carew.

Peter Owens in his Landrover on the beach at Seaton Carew.

The notorious 45-year-old dad of four was also sentenced for his part in an ugly row in the street on a Sunday afternoon when he brandished his walking stick around and traded obscenities with another man in a family feud.

Owens, who once weighed 54 stone, was also dealt with for an earlier incident when he threatened to steal a lorry and ram it into Hartlepool Police Station after officers caught him driving a Range Rover Freelander while disqualified.

During the incident on December 9, 2013, Owens also used racist language towards a British-Asian sergeant.

Paul Abrahams, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, described how Owens later led police on a 20-mile chase in North Yorkshire in the early hours of February 17 last year.

Offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate

Recorder Robert Spragg

It was after the MGZR he was driving came up as not having insurance.

“Police tried to get the vehicle to stop but it made no attempt,” said Mr Abrahams.

“Mr Owens accelerated away at 105mph on the A19 at the junction with Thirsk. At one point a police car lost control while going round a corner as the road was covered in ice.”

Earlier this year Owens was found guilty of dangerous driving again, this time in a Subaru Forester chased along the A19, Hart bypass and into Hartlepool, by six police cars, a dogs van and the force helicopter.

Peter Owens leaving Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

Peter Owens leaving Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

During the trial a police officer said: “I was doing 108mph at one point and just keeping pace.”

Owens, who already had 12 previous convictions for driving while disqualified, was found guilty of dangerous driving and also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and dangerous driving from the other incidents.

He also admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon from the confrontation with Neil Pell, outside his home in Wasdale Close, on Sunday, January 25, in the middle of the afternoon.

Owens arrived in a taxi along with three male relatives and a woman. He got out and during the incident, which also involved a number of other people, swung his walking stick at Pell, 44, who threw a claw hammer at Owens.

Mr Abrahams said: “It was clearly a very unsettling experience for residents of the close.”

Owens and Pell, who also admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon were both given eight months jail.

Nigel Soppitt, mitigating, for Owens said he had been dragged into the family feud.

Regarding the driving on December 13 he said Owens had taken his wife to hospital and was in “a highly emotive state.”

Mr Soppitt added: “He’s ashamed of his behaviour on that day.”

He said Owens had changed while on remand in prison including signing up for a sponsored run. “He’s a man who has seen the error of his ways,” said Mr Soppitt.

“There is evidence that shows there has been a profound change over the last few months.”

Owens, of Miers Avenue, Hartlepool, was jailed for a total of three years and eight months and banned from driving for another two years.

Recorder Robert Spragg said: “The offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”

A long record

Peter Owens has made the headlines for a series of incidents over the years. His unenviable record which lists 76 offences include:

• 2009, Owens handed a lenient 15-month jail sentence at Teesside Crown Court for a baseball bat attack on two men in a house in Hartlepool in August 2007.

The judge said it was shorter than he would have imposed because of health problems linked to Owens’ then 40-stone weight.

• May 2012, he was at the centre of a six-hour stand-off with armed police on Seaton Carew beach after a row with his wife Barbara. He later apologised through the Mail for the inconvenience he caused to people.

• January 2013, Owens was given a suspended jail term after being found guilty of two counts of blackmail after threatening to stab a car wash boss and set fire to the business.

It was after Owens claimed the car wash had damaged the wheels on his S-type Jaguar.

Six months of the 18-month sentence was imposed by the judge for Owens’ latest offences.

• April 2013. Received another suspended prison sentence and banned from driving for three years at Hartlepool Magistrates Court after he was caught driving five high-powered 4x4 cars all without insurance.

He admitted five offences of having no insurance, one of failing to produce a licence, one of having no licence, failing to produce insurance documents, and poaching.