Motorists took evasive action to avoid crash with banned driver who ‘could have killed someone’

Luton Crown Court
Luton Crown Court

A banned driver who fled from police could have killed someone by his dangerous driving, a Judge has said.

John Cawley who was under a five year ban, and was uninsured, panicked when police tried to stop him in Leighton Buzzard on March 20 this year.

Luton Crown Court heard on Friday how he did a U-turn in Billington Road and then drove in such a way that several oncoming cars had to take action to avoid colliding with him. After a short chase he pulled into the Toddbury Farm travellers site where he was arrested.

Cawley, 25, from Slough, who uses a number of aliases, appeared via a video link from Bedford prison to listen to the facts being outlined by prosecutor, James Lachkovic.

He had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance. He was jailed for a year and banned from driving for a further five and half years.

Mr Lachkovic said the chase began at 9.20am and included driving at 60mph in a 30mph area along Slapton Road, which included trying to overtake an agricultural vehicle and having to mount a verge to do so.

Police were considering abandoning the pursuit because of the danger when Cawley pulled into the travellers’ site, from which he had come.

Chloe Gardner, defending said: “He just panicked, but the dangerous driving only lasted for about a mile.”

Judge Michael Kay QC told the defendant: “It is only a matter of luck whether you collided with another car, and that person could have been killed or seriously injured.

“That is a depressingly familiar case in these courts.”