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Court / Hilditch ‘incredibly fortunate’ not to cause serious injury

A MAN who drove dangerously at speeds of over 90mph while nearly four times the alcohol limit as he tried to outpace police has been jailed for eight months.

Lerwick Sheriff Court.Lerwick Sheriff Court

Nathan Hilditch, of Ulsta, Yell, was also banned from driving for three years and four months when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday after previously admitting five charges which took place on the A970 between Fladdabister and Sandwick on 29 September.

The 23-year-old pleaded guilty to failing to stop when required to do so by two police constables in uniform, and driving with 86 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 22 microgrammes.

Hilditch also admitted driving dangerously by repeatedly driving on the wrong side of the road including when negotiating bends and dips, and driving at excessive speeds including at over 90mph in a 50mph limit.

He then collided with an item of roadside furniture and drove into a ditch.

Hilditch also admitted driving the car with no insurance and while being a provisional licence holder when there was no qualified driver supervising him.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie told the court on Wednesday that police became aware of the incident at around 12.45am when other motorists called in to express concern over Hilditch’s driving, with some witnessing him swerving across the road.

Officers caught up with him at Fladdabister where he was seen in the middle of the road, swerving slowly between the lanes with hazard lights on.

As there were other vehicles present the police turned on their blue lights, at which point Hilditch sped up, later driving at 70mph on the wrong side of the road at bends and dips in Cunningsburgh.

Police were “extremely concerned” about safety and decided to pull back, although they ended up having to maintain a speed of 90mph to keep eyes on Hilditch, who was still gaining ground.

Mackenzie said Hilditch then collided with “something on the roadside”, lost a tyre and swerved into a ditch.

Police officers “detected a strong smell of alcohol” from Hilditch when they approached him, with the 23-year-old failing a roadside screening test before being arrested.

Defence agent Tommy Allan told the court that the incident was Hilditch at the “start of a journey at which he planned to take his own life”.

He said his client had no recollection of the offences and was “clearly ashamed” of his behaviour.

Allan said Hilditch had been seen by a community psychiatrist nurse and while there was not thought to be any psychiatric issue with him, he has expressed a desire to get to the “bottom” of his problems.

“It’s always been the case that Mr Hilditch doesn’t consider himself a criminal,” the solicitor said, adding that his client does not feel he is suited to prison following previous stints behind bars.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that given the nature of the driving it was “incredibly fortunate” that no serious injuries were sustained.

He ruled that there was no alternative to prison and backdated the eight month sentence to when Hilditch first entered custody on 1 October.

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