Man branded ‘beyond foolish’ by judge for speeding away from police at 150mph in Northamptonshire

The court heard that police pursued a man at speed for nearly 12 miles before they were forced to abandon the chase

A Northamptonshire man has been given a suspended prison sentence after driving at speeds of up to 150mph to escape police in an early morning pursuit.

Benjamin Barratt, aged 26, of Wellingborough Road in Broughton, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Wednesday, May 25 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.

The court heard that, at around 5.12am on September 25 2021, Barratt was observed by police “braking heavily, swerving and straddling the centre lane” as he was driving his BMW on the A43.

Benjamin Barratt, aged 26, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Wednesday, May 25

Quiana Fitzpatrick, prosecuting, told the court that police followed the vehicle and Barratt sped away, overtaking two vehicles and driving at 90mph in a 50mph zone before accelerating to 120mph.

The court heard that, as Barratt approached a junction, he did not slow down or stop to give way, he drove straight through it at 70mph before swerving and clipping a nearby verge twice.

Ms Fitzpatrick described how Barratt entered a village and slowed down to 30mph before accelerating to 150mph in a bid to flee police.

The court heard that officers had to abandon the pursuit before eventually tracking Barratt down by attending the address where the car was registered. There, the defendant admitted to driving the car.

Barratt appeared before Northampton magistrates on May 13 earlier this month because he was caught by officers driving his car at around 2am despite being disqualified from driving. He received an 18 month community order and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and attend 10 rehabilitation requirement days.

Barratt has two previous convictions of drink driving in 2011 and 2017.

Michael Hagger, in mitigation, said Barratt made an “appalling” decision but one that is “out of character.”

He continued: “All I can say is he is genuinely remorseful for the stupidity of a couple of weeks ago and for this serious offence.”

Mr Hagger told the court that Barratt has worked at a fast food restaurant for eight years, which requires him to work a lot of late night shifts so he now relies on people to give him lifts.

The court heard that, on the day Barratt was caught driving whilst disqualified, his father was “too tired” to give him a lift so he took his father’s car so that he could get to and from work.

Mr Hagger said that, on the day of Barratt’s dangerous driving, police noticed him speeding and he “panicked”, causing him to speed up even more and entering a “vicious cycle.”

His Honour Judge David Herbert told Barratt he is “on a knife’s edge,” and it was a “mercy” that it was 5am when the offence happened.

Judge Herbert said: “I sentence you on the basis the roads were relatively clear at the time.”

He added: “It was beyond foolish to drive in the way you did and respond in the way you did. It was stupid and dangerous.”

Barratt was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months and ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation requirement days.

He was additionally disqualified from driving for two years and told he would have to take an extended retest before applying for a new licence.