A DANGEROUS driver had his heavily pregnant girlfriend in the front passenger seat of his car as he tried to escape police at more than 100mph.

Despite being banned from driving Deke Stewart bought a Mazda RX8 sports car, but was spotted driving it by police on Lever Street, Bolton, just after 4am on February 11.

Geoff Whelan, prosecuting, told how Stewart sped off.

During a 30 minute pursuit around Bolton and Farnworth Stewart narrowly avoided hitting other vehicles, sped through numerous red lights and hit speeds of over 100 mph on Wigan Road and Crompton Way, as well as 110mph on the M61. Several police vehicles joined in the pursuit as well as the police helicopter, and the chase only ended when a police car met the Mazda head on on Back Bury Road South and forced it to stop.

The Mazda then reversed and collided with a parked car before the police car made ‘tactical contact’ with it, wedging it between the parked car and a sign post.

Stewart was arrested and officers found his girlfriend, Jamie Salmon, who was more than 30 weeks pregnant, in the front passenger seat. Stewart, aged 30, of Dorchester Avenue, Bolton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while banned and having no insurance. Only six months earlier he had been banned from driving for three years.

Hugh Barton, defending, said: "In the cold light of day he recognises this was wholly unacceptable behaviour. He is someone who is full of resolve to address his issues."

But, sentencing Stewart to 14 months in prison and banning him from driving for 43 months, Judge Richard Gioserano was scathing in his criticism.

He told Stewart: "It involved you driving in a shockingly dangerous manner with disregard for the safety of your pregnant partner and disregard for the safety of pedestrians and other road users.This was as bad a case of dangerous driving as I have seen.

"Frankly, only by the grace of God, no one was killed or injured. It was not by design on your part."