Three-times banned driver led police on high-speed 12-mile chase

Jailed...Lee Barnes.
Jailed...Lee Barnes.

A three-times banned driver with 26 convictions led police on a 12-mile dangerous chase from Market Weighton to Pocklington, hitting speeds of 70mph in 40mph villages.

Uninsured Lee Barnes, 39, at one stage drove head on at the police in his Mitsubishi Warrior 4X4 causing two patrol officers to believe he was trying to ram them. He refused to stop when they put their lights on and took police on a 20-minute high speed chase. He was stopped after getting stuck on a verge at Bielby near Pocklington.

Barnes, of 22nd Avenue, Hull, appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court last Friday after pleading guilty to driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without insurance

Crown barrister Catherine Kioko-Gilligan said the chase started at North Cliffe on 29 October when two police officers spotted a Mitsubishi Warrior driving erratically indicating to turn right but turned left towards Holme-on-Spalding-Moor. She said Barnes was followed travelling at speeds of 70mph in a 60mph limit and police illuminated their warning lights indicating him to stop. He ignored those.

“He drove at speeds averaging 60-70mph through villages where there was a 40mph limit,” said Ms Kioko-Gilligan. She said at a Rix Petrol Station near Holme-on-Spalding-Moor he turned around. She said at one point police believed he was reversing towards them at speed on Carrs Well Lane with a risk of collision only for them to realise he had turned around and it was his headlights. The officers decided to stop reversing and drove towards the lights passing the Mitsubishi on the offside, then turning around to again follow.

They followed Barnes on an unclassified single lane road at speeds of 60-70mph through Everingham, Hayton, and Shiptonthorpe.

Barnes came to a stop at a farmhouse in Bielby after becoming stuck after mounting a grass verge. When quizzed by the police he said the driver of the vehicle had made off. He said he had only been at the wheel as he was trying to move it. He accepted he was a disqualified driver.

The court heard he had been banned from driving in 1997, 2012 and 2014 and risked a maximum two-year sentence.

Defence barrister Paul Norton said: “Although he accepts he put the police officers in fear of impact or safety his intention was to get away. Some of his dangerous driving was in a field and is not part of the charges.

“He had a long-standing problem with drugs and had it under control, but his partner had a miscarriage and he relapsed in grief taking Subutex and then heroin. He has five children in his household and his partner is struggling with his oldest son who has ADHD.”

Judge Mark Bury told Barnes: “You fall to be sentenced for offences driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without insurance on 19 October some 4 days after a community order expired. That was imposed for dangerous driving for which you were imprisoned in 2012. You were driving a 4x4 Mitsubishi Warrior that is a large and dangerous vehicle in its own right. You were driving erratically at high speed of up to 70mph through a number of villages.

“There were a number of aggravating features in this case. Not only were you disqualified from driving at the time, but you had a recent conviction for dangerous driving. Another aggravating feature was you had your teenage son in the passenger seat at the time.

“You told the police someone else was driving and your son was terrified. I have no doubt he was. You were lucky it was at night and no one else was on the road at the time. This was a serious period of prolonged dangerous driving which at any point could have caused a serious accident to the police or to anyone else on the road.

“As you know with your record only a period of custody can be justified.”

Barnes was jailed for 15 months and banned from driving for two years and ordered he should take an extended re-test.