A MAN who led police on a high-speed car chase through Newbury before careering across a carefully-manicured golf course has been given a suspended jail sentence.
A judge told 22-year-old Ronnie Jury, of Pigeons Farm Road, Greenham, that he had avoided immediate imprisonment “by a whisker”.
At a sentencing hearing at Reading Crown Court on Friday, prosecuter Gavin Pottinger said Jury had veered through residential streets on the wrong side of the road on Pinchington Lane and Burys Bank Road at speeds of up to 80mph, before crashing on to a green at Newbury and Crookham Golf Club.
A police tracker dog found him hiding behind a nearby tree.
After initially giving a “no comment” interview, Jury tried to claim his friend had been behind the wheel.
But at his trial on August 5, it took jurors a little over one hour to convict him of dangerous driving
The sentencing judge, Recorder John Bate-Williams, told Jury his defence story had been “ridiculously far-fetched”.
Jury also has numerous 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.”
Harper Marshall, mitigating for Jury at the sentencing hearing, said: “Thankfully no one was injured.
“This took place at 12.30am so there was very little traffic about.”
She urged the judge to read pre-sentence reports on her client.
The Recorder said: “This was a fairly prolonged period of dangerous driving on public roads at very high speeds.
“You then veered across a golf course.
“You knew you were being pursued by the police.
“The only saving grace is that no one was injured – they would have been if there had been another vehicle coming the other way.
“You then put forward a defence which was ridiculously far-fetched.”
But after reading pre-sentence reports prepared by the probation service, Recorder Bate-Williams told Jury: “By a small whisker I feel I am able to make a suspended sentence order in this case.”
There were gasps of relief from Jury’s family and friends in the public gallery.
Jury was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, susp-ended for 18 months.
In addition he was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid community work and to pay a victim services surcharge, although the amount was not specified in court.
Finally, Jury was ordered to pay the £3,500 cost of bringing the prosecution case against him.