Banned driver took police on 80mph chase through backstreets of Castleford while high on cocaine

A banned driver who took police on an 80mph chase through the narrow back streets of Castleford while high on cocaine has been sent to prison.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 8:24 am

Former soldier Joshua Mark Whelan was behind the wheel of a Renault Clio and was clocked at more than double the speed limit as he tried to get away from police, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Prosecuting, Ayman Khokhar, said that officers had tried to routinely stop the 26-year-old as he drove a Renault Clio on Cambridge Street in Castleford, shortly after midnight on July 26 last year.

But he began accelerating and the officers gave chase as he hit speeds of up to 80mph in 30mph roads including University Street, Middle Oxford Street, High Oxford Street and Albion Street.

He drove at speeds along backstreets in Castleford to try and shake off police.

In an effort to lose the police, he then took to the narrow back streets around Armitage Street, Wilson Street, Cross Street, Savile Road and Bradley Avenue.

At one point the police thought he was going to lose control because the back of the car was bouncing because of the sheer speed.

He only came to a stop when he arrived at a parked vehicle in the narrow back alley that he could not get past. He was then quickly apprehended.

He gave a negative breath test, but tested positive for being over the limit for cocaine. He then gave a 'no comment' police interview.

He admitted a charge of dangerous driving, driving while over the drug-drive limit and driving while banned.

The court was told that Whelan, of Methley Street, Castleford, had six convictions for nine offences, including dangerous driving for which he was jailed for eight months in 2019, and given a 28-month driving ban.

Mitigating, Richard Barradell explained that Whelan had been at a funeral earlier that day for a family member of his ex partner.

He admitted he had a can of cider and taken cocaine and had no intention of driving, but agreed to take his former partner home because she was emotional.

He said that Whelan, a former soldier with The Rifles, who had done a tour of Iraq, but was now working in the construction industry.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC told Whelan: "You were sent to prison in 2019 for dangerous driving, and you have learned absolutely nothing, whatever the circumstances were which you came to drive again.

"There was a blatant disregard for the police and the disqualification. Driving of this nature puts all road users at risk and puts the police at risk.

"The courts have to deter those who drive in that manner."

He jailed him for 12 months and gave him a 30-month driving ban.