Jail for driver who led police on 100mph chase

Gavin Monaghan led police on a high-speed chase.
Gavin Monaghan led police on a high-speed chase.

A disqualified driver took his mother’s car and crashed it into a fire hydrant after a police chase.

Gavin Monaghan was arrested and handcuffed as water from the smashed hydrant flooded across the road, Durham Crown Court heard.

The court heard Monaghan, who raced from police at more than 100mph, had 10 offences of driving while banned on his record.

Prosecutor Ian West said Monaghan took the Audi A4 from his mother’s home in Easington, but he didn’t come to the attention of police until he stopped at a petrol station in Stanley.

“A member of the public reported that he was obviously drunk,” Mr West added. “Police arrived and the car pulled away.

“Officers indicated for it stop, but it did not and a chase ensued along Chester Road towards Beamish.

“The car went through a red light, and was driven in excess of 100mph on the A693.

“At the Beamish Museum roundabout, the car headed towards the village of No Place.

“As it exited the village, the driver lost control and hit the hydrant, causing water to gush across the road.”

The court heard police found two knives and 420 nitarazepam sleeping tablets in the car.

Monaghan, 35, of Noble Street, Easington Colliery, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, possession of a class C drug, and two offences of possessing a bladed article, all on January 11.

He has previous convictions for 98 offences, including burglary, robbery, and 10 offences of driving while disqualified.

Jane Waugh, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Monaghan cannot remember much of what went on that night.

“He thinks he may have had some form of breakdown.

“He is a young man in the thrall of drugs, when not taking them he is intelligent and articulate.

“Mr Monaghan has a 12-year-old son, and he enjoys the support of his mother.

“He realises he cannot go on in this vein.”

Judge Simon Hickey jailed Monaghan for 16 months.

The judge told him: “I accept when you are not taking drugs you are a decent man, but when you do take drugs you turn into a monster.

“You have a bad record for driving offences, and this was a bad piece of driving.

“You must realise a sentence of custody is inevitable.”

Monaghan was banned from driving for three years and eight months, and he must take an extended test before driving again.

The knives and the drugs were confiscated and will be destroyed.