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Shocking car chase lands man in jail

A DISQUALIFIED driver who drove at more than 100mph during a 30 mile police chase across Shetland’s south mainland before crashing the car he was driving and then hiding in the hills was jailed for nine months at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Peter Henderson, aged 32, of 10 Kalliness, Weisdale, had pled guilty to seven charges including dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drink or drugs, while disqualified and without insurance.

He also admitted trying to pervert the course of justice by hiding from the police.

The court heard that the police were tipped off by a concerned member of the public when they saw Henderson filling a car at Leasks petrol station in Lerwick on 29 November last year when he was clearly drunk or on drugs.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said that even though Henderson had been banned from driving for 10 years, he had collected the car from Lerwick to test drive it to its owner who lived in Bigton in the south mainland with a view to buying it.

Officers came across Henderson driving the car at Channerwick, by the Bigton junction.

He stopped when they flashed their blue lights, but when they got out of their vehicle to approach him he sped off.

Mackenzie said he drove at speeds of more than 100mph heading south towards Sumburgh, turned into the housing estates in Virkie where he mounted pavements and almost hit a stationary vehicle before racing back northwards on the main A970.

“The police were maintaining communications with the force control room and his driving became so dangerous they were instructed to keep at a safe distance and only use their blue lights to warn other motorists,” the fiscal said.

Henderson turned left along the Black Gaet south of Lerwick, before trying to rejoin the A970 at the Brig o Fitch where he hurtled across the junction and crashed into the barrier.

When the police found the car with its lights on and engine still running, Henderson had disappeared and more officers joined a search of the surrounding hills before they found him hiding in the dark.

“It’s only a matter of good luck rather than good management that another motorist didn’t have the misfortune of encountering him in this incredibly dangerous piece of driving,” Mackenzie said.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said he could offer no mitigation for Henderson’s behaviour, but said that his client now realised how lucky he was that nothing more serious had happened.

He said that since 2 December when he was placed on remand, Henderson had shown the appropriate level of shame and remorse.

Allan asked for the court to consider placing him under supervision and doing unpaid work, adding that he had an opportunity to start work on a local fishing boat.

However Sheriff Philip Mann said he would be setting Henderson up to fail and jailed him for nine months. He also banned him from driving for a total of 15 years.