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Accused jailed for befouling his cell

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 11, 2013

SMEARING faeces in a police cell and threatening an officer have earned a five-week prison term for a man who had previously led a policeman on a high-speed car chase.

John Davis, 35, was also banned from driving for three months, and until he passes an extended test, after being convicted of driving carelessly and failing to stop for police during a high-speed pursuit on lanes and roads in the St Austell area which ended with a chase on foot at Pontsmill and a police officer having to draw his Taser.

He was acquitted of damaging a metal gate as its ownership could not be established and received no separate penalty for the motoring offence.

Davis claimed he was not behind the wheel that night and that the driver was in fact a man called Andy, who at the time was wanted by police.

On Thursday, at the end of a two-day trial before Bodmin magistrates, chairman of the bench Anna Brimacombe told Davis the court had decided he was the driver and had driven at excessive speed around narrow lanes: "This was a prolonged period of bad driving, bordering on the dangerous and to avoid police. We do not believe you should be driving at the moment."

At the conclusion of the trial, the court was told he had previously admitted violent behaviour at a police station and criminal damage to a cell on October 2 at Launceston. "You deliberately fouled your cell and camera equipment knowing police would have to attend, and you behaved violently by raising a clenched fist towards a police officer," Mrs Brimacombe said.

Davis gave an address in Truro, but is in Exeter Prison awaiting a hearing at Truro Crown Court in separate proceedings.

At his trial Maurice Champion, for the prosecution, told the court that just before midnight on August 30 PC Ben Morris, in a marked car and accompanied by a member of the public on a drive-round, followed a Ford Fiesta which he believed was speeding on Penwithick Road, Bugle.

The Fiesta then accelerated sharply, "pitching and lurching" along Hallaze Road and going on to the wrong side of the road. PC Morris put on the blue lights and siren but the car kept going.

"It braked at a blind junction at Carne Cross but then lurched to the nearside and turned left, fishtailing out of the junction with tyres squealing," said Mr Champion. Heading for St Blazey, the car reached 60mph, causing another driver to swerve and "bouncing over the tracks" at the level crossing.

"It suddenly turned into an unclassified road towards Pontsmill and into a car park before accelerating straight through some closed metal gates," he said.

Davis got out and ran, followed by PC Morris. Davis fell and as he started to rise PC Morris, fearing for his safety, drew his Taser. The keys to the Fiesta were found on the ground where Davis fell.

PC Morris told the court the Fiesta's speed was reckless: "If a car had been coming there would have been a head-on collision."

A tape of Davis's police interview was played in which he at first repeatedly referred to his driving, only to then deny being at the wheel.

Davis told the court he was asleep in a caravan at Pontsmill when he was awoken and told someone was driving his car and being chased by police. He ran outside and was confronted by PC Morris. He denied Mr Champion's suggestion that he was "lying through your teeth".

Chris Nicholls, for the defence, said that at the time of his interview Davis, who had various medical problems, was not been taking his medication and was "perhaps not at his best". He had, however, mentioned at his interview the day after the incident that he was not driving.

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