Drunken soldier drove at 117mph in Manchester Road after giving two fingers to police
A SERVING soldier drove drunk at 117 miles per hour — after giving police a two-finger salute.
Jacob Pomfret had earlier sped along a rain-soaked Bradshawgate, congested with weekend revellers, Bolton Crown Court heard.
The 19-year-old, a radio operator with the Royal Signals, escaped a jail sentence — after the judge was told he would be discharged from the Army if he was sent to prison.
Pomfret, who is due to be deployed to Afghanistan, was twice over the drink-drive limit when he ran a red light and raced through town centre — later crashing his Renault Clio as he was chased by police.
Recorder Michael Blakey told the soldier: “Your driving was horrendous on that particular evening and it is more by good luck than good judgement that other people were not injured or killed.”
Prosecuting, Daniel Calder, told the court that police first spotted the car at 1.10am on Saturday, August 3, going through a red light when turning from Bow Street into Manor Street.
Pomfret continued driving at 40mph into Bradshawgate, before turning into the World of Fashion store car park.
Mr Calder said Pomfret made offensive gestures towards police from his driver’s window, then sped out of the car park into Manchester Road, refusing officers’ commands for him to stop.
He raced through red traffic lights along the road and, as he passed the Vauxhall dealership, was recorded by police as doing 117 miles per hour.
At one point he hit a crash barrier under St Peter’s Way before stopping in Loxham Street, Farnworth.
Rebecca Sharp, defending, said Pomfret had not been intending to drive, but had taken the car after returning home following a night out and getting into an argument with his grandmother.
Pomfret had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drink-driving and failing to stop for police at an earlier hearing.
Recorder Blakey told him he was taking the “exceptional step” of not sending him to prison immediately.
Pomfret was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and must do 60 hours unpaid work.
He was also banned from driving for 12 months and, at the end of that period, must pass an extended driving test.
The Ministry of Defence refused to comment.