Driver 'barely missed' pedestrians during 100mph police chase

A driver “barely missed” two people crossing the road as he sped away from police, a court has heard. Robert Vaughan Harvey reached speeds of 100mph as he raced along a busy road in the dead of night. He later reported his Mini Cooper as having been stolen – but police who attended his house recognised him as the driver from earlier in the evening.

Swansea Crown Court heard that on April 28 this year Harvey’s family contacted police as he had left home and they had concerns about his welfare. Hannah George, prosecuting, said just before 11pm that night police found his Mini in Llanelli ‘s North Dock – Harvey drove away, but at this stage did not follow.

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Police came across his car again some 10 minutes later outside the Pets at Home store in Trostre retail park. The court heard that on this occasion the 32-year-old sped off – and police followed.

Doing speeds of around 60mph he drove through the retail park and onto the A484 road towards Swansea , where he accelerated up to 100mph. As the pursuit approached the Loughor bridge, police called-off the chase. However, the court heard Harvey turned around at Loughor roundabout and headed back towards Llanelli – and police followed.

Miss George said as the chase approached Llanelli an officer in the pursuing patrol car saw two pedestrians cross the road ahead of Harvey – the driver did not slow down as he approached them and “barely missed” them. Police once again abandoned the chase. Then, shortly before midnight, Harvey called the police to report his car had been stolen.

When officers attended his property they recognised him as the man involved in the earlier chase. The prosecutor said it was not clear whether Harvey had falsely reported his car as being stolen “in an attempt to distance himself from the events of the night” or whether it was done out of panic.

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Harvey, of Glas Coed, Pwll, Llanelli, had pleaded guilty on the day he was due to stand trial to driving dangerously, and failing to stop. The court heard he has six convictions for 13 offences including for battery, harassment, possession of cocaine, and criminal damage, but none for driving matters others than having no insuarnce.

Ian Ibrahim, for Harvey, said the case was not one of a motorist going on a “joy ride” or fleeing from police because he had committed an offence such as the courts often saw. He said said his client was suffering with depression and was struggling to come to terms with a family bereavement, and on the night in question had simply “wanted to be left alone in his sorrow”. The barrister said the dad-of-four had been a HGV driver earning good money, but after his arrest had lost that employment and latterly been working as a loader for Dyfed Steels.

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Recorder Ifan Wyn Lloyd Jones said on any view Harvey was guilty of a dangerous piece of driving, and it was perhaps “more by luck than judgement” that nobody had been injured.

The judge said he and “thought long and hard” and about the appropriate sentence, and given everything he had read and heard about the defendant’s circumstances he was prepared to take the unusual step of not imposing immediate custody.

He sentenced Harvey to a total of eight months suspended for two years, ordered him to complete a rehabilitation course, and banned him from driving for three years.

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