'Lunatic' drink-driver in high-speed chase around Cheltenham
DRINK-DRIVER Adrian Eyre panicked and led police on a "lunatic" four-minute high-speed chase through the residential streets of Cheltenham.
The 42-year-old's dangerous driving at 8.30pm on September 15 put people at risk of injury of "even worse", Gloucester Crown Court was told.
Eyre, of Salisbury Avenue, Warden Hill, had been at a wedding at the racecourse and was driving at more than one-and-a-half times the alcohol limit.
Prosecutor Lisa Hennessy said police had been alerted to his driving by concerned members of the public. A patrol car overtook him at the traffic lights in Gloucester Road and pulled in front of him with blue lights flashing.
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But he then sped away in his Audi, driving through red traffic lights and going onto the wrong side of the road as he reached speeds of more than double the 30mph limit.
She showed the court CCTV taken from the pursuing police car as it followed Eyre along roads including Overton Park Road, Douro Road, Andover Road, Hatherley Road and Warden Hill Road.
The car hit a kerb, causing damage, and the CCTV showed sparks and smoke coming from it until it eventually came to a halt and Eyre was arrested after a struggle.
A breath test gave a reading of 62mcgs. The legal limit is 35mcgs.
Eyre pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop for police and having excess alcohol on his breath.
At the time of the offence, Eyre was on parole licence from jail following a blackmail sentence in 2008.
Sabhia Pathan, defending, said: "He was so ashamed of his behaviour that he took the car to a scrapyard afterwards."
Judge Jamie Tabor QC told Eyre that most drunken dangerous drivers who did what he did would go to jail.
Instead, he sentenced Eyre to nine months jail suspended for two years, placed him under supervision for 18 months and sent him on a drink driving course.
He also ordered Eyre to do 100 hours of unpaid work and placed him under home curfew 8pm-6am for two months. Eyre was also banned from driving for two years, fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £250 costs.
"This was lunacy and inexcusable," said the judge.
In 2008, Eyre was sentenced to five years in jail for his part in a terrifying blackmail ordeal. He was one of a group of men who met a man advertising his Mercedes car for sale.
They met in a layby where, dressed in balaclavas and gloves, they demanded £20,000 and threatened to throw acid over his girlfriend if he did not pay up. They drove the victim to his father's house for money but could not get in. They kicked and punched him and left him in the layby.