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Banned driver weeps as he is jailed for breaking court orders

“Driving helps to calm him down and helps him think...he didn’t think of the consequences" - defence

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

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A HUNGERFORD man broke down and wept, begging a judge to change his mind as he was jailed for flouting court orders.

Nicholas Francis Heavingham had decided to ignore a driving ban and was caught twice behind the wheel – driving off without paying for petrol.

He had been disqualified from driving last year after he was convicted of aggravated vehicle taking.

Describing the circumstances of that offence, prosecutor Matthew Gauntlett told Reading magistrates on Thursday that Mr Heavingham had taken a Vauxhall Zafira belonging to Rebecca Lee during a domestic row at her Kintbury home last July.

He added: “He drove off in the direction of Inkpen, wheels spinning, but returned later without the car.

“Ms Lee noticed blood on his clothes and he said he had hit a bus in Hungerford. He was crying, saying he didn’t want to go to prison.”

Mr Heavingham, a 28-year-old tyre fitter who lives at Coldharbour Road, was made subject to a two-year community order to include a thinking skills programme and rehabilitation activity.

In addition, he was banned from driving for 12 months.

But on November 11 last year he was caught flouting that ban for the first time when CCTV footage showed him behind the wheel as he made off without paying for £78 worth of fuel from a Newbury petrol station.

Then, on January 21, he was spotted reversing out of a petrol station in Hungerford, again without paying, although he later settled the bill, the court heard.

Mr Heavingham admitted one charge of making off without payment, two of driving while disqualified and two of driving without insurance.

In addition, he has an extensive record of other previous convictions, the court heard.

A probation officer who interviewed him told the court: “He says driving helps to calm him down and helps him think.

“He went out for a drive and stole the petrol because he had no money.

“He said he didn’t think of the consequences.

“I find it very concerning that these offences were committed so soon after the previous offence.

“He says he used to have issues with cocaine, but that was before 2018.”

Simon Grant, defending, said his client was a father of three who was currently in employment.

He acknowledged: “He has been caught driving on two separate occasions while subject to a ban, but if he goes to prison he will lose his employment.”

Mr Grant instead suggested a suspended sentence with unpaid community work requirement.

But Mr Heavingham began sobbing as the district judge, Nigel Hodkinson, told him: “I’m going to send you to prison and I’m going to tell you why.”

But he was constantly interrupted by Mr Heavingham, who repeatedly pleaded and begged for “just one more chance”.

Mr Hodkinson continued: “You were given a community order for serious offences and you were caught driving while disqualified and without insurance on two occasions. You have chosen to do that.”

Mr Heavingham was sentenced to six months imprisonment.

In addition, he was ordered to pay a statutory victim services surcharge of £115 upon his release.

Finally, the driving ban was extended by a further six months.

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