A teenager who allowed a 15-year-old to drive his car – who then crashed it – has narrowly avoided a jail sentence for perverting the course of justice.
Jamie Turner, 19, from Denford Drive in Barton Seagrave, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday having pleaded guilty to permitting an underage driver to use his vehicle and perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.
The court was told that Turner falsely told police his vehicle had been stolen by the 15-year-old after the accident, and he maintained that lie for two months before finally owning up.
The court heard that the 15-year-old borrowed the car with Turner’s knowledge and permission, despite being underage and uninsured, to go and pick up a girl from her home. The vehicle was then involved in an accident.
However, Turner told officers he had been asleep at the time and had no knowledge that the car was being used.
As a result, the 15-year-old and the female passenger were arrested for taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent and questioned by police.
Turner was eventually caught out when officers uncovered communications between the female passenger and another girl which made it apparent that Turner was aware the vehicle was being used.
The court did not hear whether the 15-year-old had been separately punished.
Barrister Steven Evans, mitigating for Turner, told the court the teenager was easily led by friends and that to his credit he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
He added: “He comes from a decent family with good values.
“His mother is worried about his mental health. His grandfather died three or four years ago and he has been depressed to a significant degree since then.
“He is worried about the potential for going to prison and sharing prison with older, more experienced criminals.”
Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC said Turner had effectively accused someone else of committing a crime which they were not guilty of.
He added: “This is a serious offence. When someone interferes with the course of justice the first thought that enters the mind of a sentencing judge is a prison sentence.
“But what I have heard and read about you is sufficient for me to suspend that prison sentence. I think you will benefit from supervision from the probation service.”
Turner was handed a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months and was placed on supervision for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete 150 hours of community work, was fined £100 and had his driving licence endorsed with six points.