Suspended term for man who drove dangerously in Flintshire

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

A DANGEROUS driver who faced trauma in his life which was not of his own making has been spared an immediate jail term by a merciful judge.

After hearing about his tragic background Judge Huw Rees suspended a 16-months prison sentence on Dale Hughes, of Old Chester Road, Holywell.

Hughes, 30, had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, having excess alcohol in his breath and being behind the wheel when banned and uninsured, and failing to stop for police.

He also admitted not having surrendered to bail.

Hughes had been followed by police who had been keeping watch outside a pub at Connah’s Quay.

He had driven at up to 100mph along the A548 Coast Road, made two circuits of a housing estate at high speed, entered a dual carriageway in the wrong direction and only stopped when he ran out of fuel on a hill.

A week ago, after hearing about Hughes’ tragic background, Judge Rees adjourned sentence to allow time for a probation report to be prepared.

He was banned from driving for three years, after which an extended test will have to be taken.

Hughes must obey a 9pm-6am curfew for three months, abide by an alcohol treatment requirement for nine months and carry out 25 days of a rehabilitation activity.

His prison sentence was suspended for 18 months.

Mark Connor, defending at Caernarfon Crown Court yesterday, said Hughes had written an impressive letter to the judge “and seemed extremely motivated to get his life back on track”.

He added: “Regular alcohol treatment is very necessary in his case because alcohol appears to be his demon – his self-medication for trauma he has suffered in the past.

“He also feels a curfew requirement is necessary to keep him on the straight and narrow.”

Judge Rees said the bad driving had continued for 20 minutes last September and covered five-and-a-half miles. “Somebody could have been seriously injured if not killed,” he said.

It had been his intention originally to place him behind bars for 16 months but now he had the benefit of a report from an experienced probation officer and had decided on a suspended term.

The judge said: “There have been issues in your life – you are still a young man – which have had a profound effect and which are not of your own making.

“You sought to address them by drinking to excess and in dramatic ways such as evidenced by this driving. But that is not the answer.”

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it@nwn.co.uk

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