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Reading Crown Court: 'Coked-up' driver fled police in high-speed chase through Newbury

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A BANNED driver, high on cocaine, ran two red lights during a high-speed police chase in Newbury town centre.

At one point, the driver of a 40-tonne HGV braked to avoid a collision as Nicholas Francis Heavingham careered towards him, Reading Crown Court heard on Friday, August 20.

The 31-year-old tyre fitter, of London Road, Newbury, has multiple convictions for driving while disqualified.

crown (51059735)
crown (51059735)

He has allegedly never held a valid licence and was on bail for previous offences when the latest drama happened.

Judge Edward Burgess QC remarked: “The figures show how ‘coked up’ he was... which was a lot.”

The court heard how police spotted Heavingham behind the wheel of a red Seat Ibiza as he prepared to turn right out of Faraday Road in Newbury towards Thatcham.

Upon seeing the police car, he suddenly turned left instead and sped off, with officers in pursuit with blue lights flashing.

Twice he ran red lights, causing the HGV to brake sharply to avoid a collision.

The pursuing police could not keep up for fear of causing a danger to other road users and Heavingham disappeared into the night.

But minutes later he was spotted walking nearby – and the keys he was carrying matched the Ibiza found abandoned nearby.

He failed a roadside drugs test and became aggressive, ranting at the officers and warning: “Next time I won’t stop – I’ll ram all your police cars. When I’m released I’ll ram them.”

CCTV footage of the hair-raising chase was shown to the judge.

Heavingham admitted driving dangerously on the A4 London Road and the Robin Hood roundabout on Wednesday, January 6.

He also admitted driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and driving when the amount of the Class A-controlled drug cocaine in his system exceeded the specified limit, on the same occasion.

In addition, Mr Heavingham admitted driving a Seat Ibiza without insurance on the A4 in Hungerford on December 27 last year and driving without insurance on December 29 last year.

In 2019 he was jailed for twice ignoring a driving ban and driving off without paying for petrol.

James McCrindell, defending, pleaded with Judge Burgess to give his client another chance, pointing out he was was gainfully employed at Station Tyres in Thatcham, after leaving The Tyre Barn in Newbury.

He said: “He hasn’t taken drugs for about three months or so.”

Mr McCrindle pleaded with the court to order a pre-sentence report which would explore options other than an immediate prison sentence.

Judge Burgess said: “I don’t believe he has ever held a valid driving licence.

“He has a terrible record, particularly for road traffic offences. And he doesn’t seem to care what the court thinks.

“He has to understand that, at the moment, he is facing an uphill struggle persuading the court that anything other than an immediate custodial sentence is warranted.”

Nevertheless, Judge Burgess agreed to order pre-sentence reports on an ‘all options’ basis, including custody.

Mr Heavingham was meanwhile released on unconditional bail.

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