Northampton man spared prison for stealing two rental cars and driving dangerously during police chase
Judge: 'I have come very, very close to sending you immediately to prison'
A Northampton man was spared prison for stealing two rental cars and driving dangerously during a police chase to give him a chance of rehabilitation.
Richard Hudson did not return the Vauxhall Corsas and was pursued by cops when spotted driving one of them in Brixworth in January.
The 31-year-old, of Kingsley Road, damaged a police car, sped through 'stop' and 'give way' signs and went down a narrow alleyway during the chase before crashing into a wall.
Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking QC sentenced him to a year and six months in jail, suspended for two years, at Northampton Crown Court on Friday (September 24).
"I have come very, very close to sending you immediately to prison, I hope your taste of custody from the reception unit last night will give you some motivation to work with those using a lot of time of resources to help you," the judge told him.
Judge Lucking said a police officer tried to stop Hudson's car, which they were alerted to as it was not returned to the rental company, at around 7.30pm on January 26.
The officer parked their car bumper to bumper with the Corsa but the defendant reversed as the officer went to get out of their car, hitting the police vehicle as he drove off.
"Luckily you did not put it out of service - if you had, you would be going to jail as those vehicles are required for life-saving duty and you put others at risk when you damaged it," the judge told him.
The officer pursued Hudson as went through junctions and a mini roundabout without stopping or slowing down but did not follow when he went down the alleyway as they did not consider it safe.
Shortly afterwards, the car was reported to police as it had crashed into a wall at the end of the alley, causing £800 of damage.
Judge Lucking gave Hudson two suspended, consecutive nine-month jail terms for the thefts and dangerous driving and disqualified him from driving for two years.
The defendant was also given a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement and a six-month mental health treatment requirement.
"This is your chance, everyone is trying to help you," the judge told him.
"The only reason I'm not imposing an immediate custodial sentence today is because there's a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and not an unrealistic one.
"If you choose, as it is your choice, to throw that away, you will come back here and start an 18-month jail term on top of whatever else you do."