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‘Disgraceful’ police chase driver jailed

Blackpool Police

Blackpool Police

A motorist who sparked a police chase followed by a violent struggle to try to avoid arrest has been put behind bars.

A police officer keeping a grasp on Simon Chappelow later described it as one of the most violent one-to-one situations he had ever had in 12 years of front line service.

The experience was said to have sapped all his energy as he struggled to hang on to him until colleagues arrived.

Chappelow, 27, of Knaresborough Avenue, Blackpool, had pleaded guilty to offences of dangerous driving, obstructing a police constable and failing to provide a breath specimen for analysis.

He was given 10 months’ jail by a judge at Preston Crown Court, plus a three-year road ban.

The incident started at around 9pm on August 4 last year when a police officer in a marked vehicle noticed a car behind him on Airedale Avenue, Blackpool. David Clarke, prosecuting, said it was dark, but the vehicle behind didn’t have its lights on.

The officer was going to stop it and followed it at normal speeds around a few streets. The policeman decided to pull alongside and effectively block it in.

But a pursuit then followed down various roads. The defendant was said to have been blatantly trying to evade the police while travelling at dangerous speeds for the wet conditions.

On East Park Drive it went through a red light. The car was driven up the drive to the De Vere hotel where it reached a dead end. The pursuit had lasted for two minutes.

Chappelow then ran across Lawsons Fields. A struggle followed with the defendant trying to break free.

To try to pull him to the ground, the officer pulled the hood on the defendant’s coat, but this caused it to twist around his neck.

The struggle continued, but colleagues arrived to help. The policeman was physically drained and shaking because of what had taken place, the court heard.

Chappelow went on to refuse to give breath samples. He claimed to have had two pints of lager.

Paul Robinson, defending, said the speeds involved and the general level of the dangerous driving were not the most serious.

He suggested the public would be better protected and society better served in the long term by passing a suspended prison sentence.

“That night he panicked. He adopted a course of action, resulting in a police chase for a couple of minutes. No pedestrians had to step out of the way and no cars had to swerve”.

But Judge Christopher Cornwall told the defendant:“You made a conscious, deliberate, albeit drunken decision to try to evade the officer.

“You created a real risk of serious danger to others who might have been using the road. This is utterly disgraceful behaviour.”

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