A FUGITIVE led police on a nerve-shredding, high-speed car chase through Newbury before careering across a carefully-manicured golf course.
Twenty-two-year-old Ronnie Jury veered through residential streets on the wrong side of the road, at speeds of up to 80mph, before crashing on to a green at Newbury and Crookham Golf Course.
Police, fearful of public safety, were forced to abandon the chase.
But they returned with a tracker dog, which eventually found him hiding behind a nearby tree.
After initially giving a “no comment” interview, Jury, of Pigeons Farm Road, Greenham, tried to claim his friend had been behind the wheel.
But it took a jury just over one hour on Thursday last week to decide he was lying and to convict him of dangerous driving.
Jury also has previous convictions, including one for theft last October. During that case, Tom Brymer, defending, said of his client: “He seems, on an annual basis, to make a stupid decision. This was another one.”
Gavin Pottinger, prosecuting, said the latest incident began when Jury recklessly pulled out from the McDonald’s restaurant in Newbury Retail Park, with a female passenger in the front seat.
Pc John Heatley told the court that he saw Jury laugh as he sped off in the Rover car, hurtling along Pinchington Lane and Burys Bank Road.
He said it was travelling at up 80mph in a 30mph zone and was sometimes in the middle of the road and sometimes veering on to the opposite carriageway facing any oncoming traffic.
The court heard that pursuing officers were told to abandon the chase for fear of causing an accident, but that Jury’s car had been spotted tearing across the golf course green before coming to a sudden stop.
The officers called for backup and a police dog named Baxter was brought to the scene.
The Rover was found abandoned on the golfing green, the doors still open, and the area was apparently deserted.
But, given the command “seek”, jurors were told, Baxter found Jury and his female companion hiding behind a tree.
After exercising his right to silence in interview, said Mr Pottinger, Jury subsequently tried to blame his friend Joshua Stephens, claiming it was he who had been driving.
But the officers were adamant that they recognised Jury.
Jury denied one charge of dangerous driving on August 5 last year.
But it took jurors just one hour and 12 minutes to unanimously convict him of the charge.
Jury also has several previous convictions, including theft and harassment.
He will be sentenced at a later date and was meanwhile released on bail.
Newbury and Crookham is one of the oldest golf courses in the county, having been laid out in the early 1870s.
It is ranked as the sixth best golf course in the county by the website Top 100 Golf Courses.