Driver spared prison following Scarborough police chase

Police chase
Police chase

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence for driving his car “like a fairground dodgem” on busy town-centre streets.

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence for driving his car “like a fairground dodgem” on busy town-centre streets.

Richard Furneaux, 31, slalomed between speed bumps in Scarborough as stunned motorists called police, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He was “bizarrely” transfixed on reaching the Scarborough seafront after driving to the east coast from Middlesbrough.

Motorists who witnessed Furneaux’s VW Passat lurching dangerously from side to side described his driving as “maniacal”.

At one stage, Furneaux drove straight across other motorists at a junction after shooting through a red light on Foreshore Road. He then swung the car around near Valley Bridge and started breaking heavily “for no apparent reason”, said prosecutor Michele Stuart-Lofthouse.

She added that Furneaux kept braking heavily for no apparent reason and alternately sped up and slowed down. Officers followed him to the seafront and the Passat finally came to a halt at Blands Cliff, where it was boxed in by several police cars.

Furneaux, who was crying when he got out of the car, was arrested and charged with dangerous driving. He appeared for sentence in Teesside on Thursday after pleading guilty to dangerous driving at York Crown Court last month.

At the York hearing, Ms Stuart-Lofthouse described Furneaux’s driving as “bizarre,” adding: “The driver was said to be trying to slalom (around) the speed bumps, swinging the car from side to side. He was swinging his body from side to side as the car carried out the slalom manoeuvres.

“One witness described (Furneaux’s driving) as being like a fairground dodgem. He appeared to be maniacally waving his arms around in the air.”

As police tailed the Passat towards the foreshore, Furneaux stopped at traffic lights at the Eastborough junction. But when an officer ran to his car and reached through the driver’s window in an attempt to grab the ignition keys, Furneaux stepped on the gas, dragging the officer along the road for a short distance before he fell to the ground and rolled away. The officer suffered bruising and grazes.

Officers suspected Furneaux had been driving under the influence of drink or drugs, but he refused a blood test on the spurious grounds that he didn’t like the examination doctor.

During police questioning, a “confused” Furneaux told officers he had headed to the Scarborough seafront because he thought he was being chased.

Since his arrest for dangerous driving on May 11, Furneaux, of Union Street, Middlesbrough, had been caught driving while disqualified and admitted the offence at South Shields Magistrates’ Court.

His barrister Andrew Semple said the “extremely unusual” incident in Scarborough was linked to Furneaux’s borderline personality disorder and paranoid delusions linked to drug use.

Recorder Mr K.S.H Miller gave Furneaux a 22-month suspended prison sentence with a 30-day rehabilitation course. Furneuax was also given a 30-month driving ban and ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge.