AN UNEMPLOYED St Blazey man marked his 28th birthday by driving dangerously and under the influence of alcohol around a roundabout – while a friend was clinging to the vehicle's roof bars.
On Daniel Hunt's second circuit of the roundabout at speed, his friend's legs slid off the roof as he struggled to hold on.
Minutes before his trial was due to start at Truro Crown Court on Monday Hunt, now 29, changed his plea and admitted dangerous driving. He had admitted driving with excess alcohol in his breath at an earlier hearing.
Edward Bailey, for the prosecution, said Sergeant Aaron Bevan and PC Justin Heayn spotted Hunt's silver Land Rover Freelander at 10.40pm on October 20 approaching the Trevail Way roundabout.
"To their astonishment, there was a man lying on the roof with his head facing the front and his legs pointing to the rear and he was hanging on to the roof bars," Mr Bailey said. "The officers watched as the Land Rover did a circuit of the roundabout and then another going even faster, on the second occasion causing the male on the roof to be forced outwards at one stage with his legs hanging off the side." Judge Christopher Harvey Clark QC described the case as bizarre and Hunt's driving as a "reckless piece of skylarking ... it was an extraordinarily dangerous activity.
"He could so easily have been thrown off by centrifugal force ... it was fortunate nobody was hurt and fortunate no other member of the public was involved."
The police officers were able to arrest Hunt, of Fore Street, St Blazey, after he pulled over on Trevail Way.
A breath test showed that he had 56mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, around 1.5 times the legal limit.
In interview Hunt denied driving dangerously or even knowing that there had been a person on his roof.
Mr Bailey said Hunt had three previous convictions including one for driving a stolen vehicle in 2001 and another for failing to stop after an accident in 2010.
Robert Linford, for the defence, said Hunt was unemployed but hoping to get work as a painter and decorator.
"It was stupid," he said. "It was showing off to some friends and he knows that."
For the dangerous driving, Hunt was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours' unpaid work. He was disqualified from driving for 18 months and will have to take an extended retest.
Hunt was also ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs, a £100 fine and £80 victim surcharge.