Driver feared assault before colliding with PC

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Bert Moffat
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Driver feared assault before colliding with PC

Post by Bert Moffat » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:36 am

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/l ... e_officer/

Driver feared assault before colliding with police officer in Bishop Auckland

A MOTORIST said he mistook a plain clothes police officer trying to flag him down for a drunk staggering in the road, a court was told.

Despite saying he tried to avoid the figure, Christopher James Sinclair collided with the undercover officer, who was thrown into the air.

Sinclair drove on, with other officers in pursuit, on foot, before stopping round the corner.

Durham Crown Court heard he was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of the officer, who was taking part in an undercover police operation following a spate of commercial crime in Bishop Auckland town centre.

The 37-year-old officer suffered numerous body and leg injuries after being thrown over the Vauxhall Vectra.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said it was later discovered he had also suffered a fractured fibula behind one of his knees.

Mr Sabiston said the incident took place at about 1am on June 28, but the officer was only recently able to return to work, on ‘light duties’.

He said the car was driven at an estimated 15 - 30-miles per hour and appeared to accelerate leaving a dead end on Westgate Road, when the officer tried to flag it down.

“The officer said he believed the movement of the defendant may have been deliberate, but he couldn’t be sure.“He thought there was sufficient room for the vehicle to pass without striking him.”

When questioned, Sinclair said he feared he was about to be assaulted by the figure in front of the car and tried to avoid him.

He drove on as others were chasing him, but said he stopped when he realised the person he had struck was a police officer.

Sinclair, 36, of Northgate Street, Bishop Auckland, admitted dangerous driving.

Rod Hunt, mitigating, said Sinclair, who hoped to set up a motor mechanics business, was test driving a car with a poor engine, so he had to ‘rev’ the engine.

He said Sinclair feared he was about to be assaulted when the figure appeared in front.

“Once he realised he wasn’t being stopped by drunks, and it was a legitimate police exercise, he did stop the car to inquire how the officer was.”

Recorder Bernard Gateshill (CORRECT) jailed Sinclair for six months, but due to the time spent in custody since his arrest, it meant he was to be released almost immediately.

Sinclair was also banned from driving for two years.