A DANGEROUS driver who led police on a high speed chase around Bolton pleaded not to be jailed so he can continue to care for his sick mother during the coronavirus crisis.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Craig Newton’s mum has a respiratory condition and he is her carer.

“He is more concerned, not really about his own fate, but that of his mother,” said Stuart Duke, defending.

“She suffers from COPD. They are both very worried at the moment about coronavirus, which she is very vulnerable to and seems to be very prevalent at the moment.

“He is the main carer and spends most of his time looking after his mum.”

The court heard how, at 2.30am on January 29, police spotted a Volvo S40 on Chorley New Road being driven at speed.

Kate Gaskell, prosecuting, told the court how 33-year-old Newton, who was behind the wheel, sped off towards Horwich and, for several minutes, led officers on a pursuit, doing circuits of residential roads around the Ladybridge, Horwich and Lostock areas.

In Victoria Road the car mounted a kerb almost hitting a wall and reaching speeds of 80mph in a 30mph zone.

In Longworth Road and Church Street, with cars parked either side of the road he reached speeds of 60mph.

Then, in Ormston Avenue, Horwich, he lost control of the car and mounted a footpath. 

In a back alley at the junction of Brownlow Road and Ansdell Road he smashed the stolen vehicle into a brick wall.

Newton tried to run off but was caught and tested positive for cocaine at the police station.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and having no licence or insurance.

Mr Duke conceded: “It was an appalling piece of driving. Had it not been for good fortune the defendant could well have been more serious charges than he is doing at the moment.

“Fortunately, despite the speed no one was injured, although there was damage to a wall and a van was scraped."

He added that Newton is remorseful.

“The defendant is thoroughly ashamed of himself. He says it is out of character and he wouldn’t normally do anything like that,” said Mr Duke.

Recorder Neville Biddle sentenced Newton to eight months in prison, suspended for 12 months and ordered him to participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities and an alcohol awareness course.

He was also banned from applying for a driving licence for 12 months, after which he must undertake an extended tests.