Kamikaze driver who clocked up speeds of more than 100mph in police chase is jailed

Craig Bradley, 29, drove at break-neck speeds along the A171 moorland road between Whitby and Guisborough.
Craig Bradley, 29, drove at break-neck speeds along the A171 moorland road between Whitby and Guisborough.

A kamikaze driver clocked up speeds of more than 130mph as he left police in his slipstream during a white-knuckle chase through twisting country lanes.

Craig Bradley, 29, drove at “break-neck” speeds along the A171 moorland road between Whitby and Guisborough.

During the 26-mile chase, Bradley, who was uninsured and had no licence, sped round tight bends at such speeds that at one stage he was on two wheels, York Crown Court heard.

The death-defying chase began in Whitby town centre, where officers spotted the BMW being driven out of St Anne’s Staithe, next to the harbour, on the wrong side of the road, said prosecutor Andrew Horton.

Bradley, who had been in the nearby Buck Inn for a few pints with friends, shot straight through red lights on the Whitby swing bridge. He then sped out of the town centre onto the A171, overtaking vehicles on the New Bridge.

On the moorland Whitby-to- Middlesbrough road, Bradley, who was carrying four passengers, rattled the speedometer as he left police in his wake. By this stage, a traffic officer had taken up the chase but had to clock up speeds of 130mph just to stay within sight of the high-performance BMW.

The officer managed to get within 150 metres of the BMW which overtook three vehicles at 120mph after crossing sold white lines on the unlit road which was full of blind spots. By the time he reached Scaling Dam, Bradley was out of sight, veering onto the wrong side of the road at 100mph and whizzing past more cars near the Jolly Sailor pub in Saltburn.

He then bombed through Lockwood Beck at over 110mph in a 50mph zone before tearing round a sharp bend on two wheels on the wrong side of the road. He then shot through the Charltons, nearly losing control due to “violent steering”, before scorching down the Guisborough bypass at 120mph and squeezing through two lines of traffic at blistering speeds.

Police laid a ‘stinger’ on a lane beyond the bypass but Bradley’s BMW screamed straight over it at 90mph. His tyres deflated but he continued to accelerate up to 120mph.

The BMW slew across the road and police cars managed to get in front of it as the car finally came to a stop. An officer ran over to the BMW as Bradley crawled into the back of the vehicle. The officer found four passengers inside the vehicle.

Bradley, of Faygate Court, Hemlington, near Middlesbrough, was arrested and charged with dangerous driving and having no insurance or licence. He initially claimed his friend had been the driver but ultimately admitted the offences and appeared for sentence on Thursday.

Mr Horton said that just before the police chase on the evening of April 20, there had been a “disturbance” at a Whitby pub in which Bradley’s two female passengers may have been involved.

The traffic officer who pursued Bradley said it was one of the most dangerous pieces of driving he had seen in his 25 years on the force.

The court heard that Bradley had many previous con convictions, mainly for driving offences including aggravated vehicle-taking and drink-driving.

His last conviction in 2013 resulted in 12-month prison sentence and driving ban, with the requirement that he take an extended re-test before he got back behind a wheel. He was due to take that re-test the day after the police chase.

Defence barrister Lisa McCormick conceded that Bradley’s death-defying stunts were a “serious piece of bad driving”.

Jailing Bradley for 18 months, Judge Paul Batty QC told him: “You were fortunate that you were not involved in a head-on collision and fortunately carnage did not result (from) your appalling driving.”

Bradley was also given a four-year driving ban.