Northampton man avoids jail after being sentenced for string of dangerous driving offences that saw two cars written off

The court heard that a six-inch knife was seized from the offender and he made “threatening” phone calls to the RSPCA

By Megan Hillery
Monday, 20th June 2022, 1:41 pm

A Northampton man has been given a suspended prison sentence for a string of driving offences that saw him drive up to 80mph in residential streets, cut through red lights and cause a collision as he fled police.

Vince Shelton, aged 32, of Birchfield Road East, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Monday, June 20 after pleading guilty to 10 offences including the possession of a knife in a public place, dangerous driving and malicious communication.

The court heard that - at 9.20pm on March 18, 2022 - police witnessed Shelton’s car speeding in Wellingborough Road so requested that he pull over. Initially, Shelton appeared to comply but, as officers approached the rear of the car, the vehicle accelerated away.

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Vince Shelton, aged 32, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Monday, June 20 .

Mr Gow, prosecuting, said that a police pursuit saw Shelton drive at 80mph down Billing Road - a 30mph residential street - cut through three red traffic lights and travel down a one-way street in the wrong direction.

Mr Gow described how Shelton, at one point, mounted the kerb in a “persistent effort to escape” and was straddling both seats of his vehicle “no doubt trying to get out of the vehicle quicker.”

The court heard that police were eventually able to stop Shelton by stinging his vehicle. Shelton then decamped but he was swiftly caught and arrested by officers, who found that Shelton had a six-inch knife in his possession and no licence or insurance.

At 10.30pm on February 6 2020, officers witnessed Shelton driving “erratically” on Wellingborough Road without headlights turned on, the court heard. Police signalled for Shelton to stop and he did but, once officers exited their vehicle, Shelton sped away.

The court heard that police, shortly later, came across a badly damaged Citroen with a female driver claiming she was struck by a vehicle matching the description of Shelton’s car.

Officers subsequently discovered Shelton’s damaged vehicle, where he fled but they were able to identify him as someone took a picture of him fleeing the scene - the court heard. Both cars involved in the collision were written off and Shelton was found to be in breach of a 48 month driving disqualification imposed in November 2017.

The court heard that Shelton - at 7pm on March 18, 2021 - made an “abusive and threatening” call to an officer from the RSPCA regarding a visit, where she showed concerns about his dog’s welfare.

Mr Gow told the court that Shelton said to the officer, “Next time you come banging on my door, I will bang on your head with a hammer,” and “I will slap you across the face, you understand me?”

Shelton has previously appeared at court on nine occasions for 30 offences including driving with excess alcohol in 2010, 2012 and 2017.

Mr Green, in mitigation, said that the defendant admitted to all offences at the earliest opportunity and believes it is all linked to the ongoing issue with his pet.

Mr Green said: “He was put in a place where he was not thinking coherently and making bad decisions about his life.”

The defence barrister added that the four months Shelton has spent in custody so far has given him significant time to reflect on his behaviour and he has engaged well with probation.

Ms Recorder Coffey, sentencing, said: “Residential streets are where people go about their daily lives. It is where children are walking. You placed their lives in danger.”

Shelton was given a 11-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was additionally ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation requirement days, undertake a thinking skills programme and carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

Shelton was disqualified from driving for three years and told he must pass an extended retest before applying for a new licence.