HGV driver led police on booze-fuelled chase after Euros

A lorry driver who watched England smash Germany in the Euros, celebrated by leading police on a booze-fuelled police chase. John Murdoch, 40, had spent the evening with pals watching England beat Germany 2-0 in the last 16 of the Euros on June 29 last year.

Murdoch had spent the evening with pals watching the Euros' match. Stock Picture: Gareth Southgate celebrating Murdoch had spent the evening with pals watching the Euros’ match. Stock Picture: Gareth Southgate celebrating

But Maidstone Crown Court heard that while driving to his home in Heather End, Swanley, he was spotted by police overtaking a number of vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Prosecutor John Connor told how officers gave chase as Murdoch’s car continued overtaking on the wrong side of the road, ignoring traffic signs.

After going along Godsel Road at speeds of up to 70mph, where children and adults were walking, he parked at Swanley railway station before trying to escape.

But Mr Connor said he was easily spotted as he was sporting a pair of bright orange trousers! Murdoch was arrested and found to be over the drink-drive limit despite claiming he had done nothing wrong and when officers searched his car they discovered a four-inch steak knife.

Murdoch parked at Swanley railway station before trying to escape police. Stock picture Murdoch parked at Swanley railway station before trying to escape police. Stock picture

Piers Kiss-Wilson, defending, said Murdoch had been celebrating his birthday by watching a football game. He said he was sacked by his company – which had described him as a “careful driver”- after he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, drink-driving and possessing a knife.

The judge, Recorder Edward Butler gave him a 12 month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

He said: “It seems to me that things just keep happening to you and you have an unenviable criminal record. “This was a truly appalling piece of driving in June last year, driving at a high speed on the wrong side of the road. It was practically a miracle that no-one was hurt.”

Murdoch's case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court Murdoch’s case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

Murdoch began weeping when the judge asked him to reflect on how his daughter and parents would feel if someone had been killed by his drink-driving.

The judge also ordered him to do 120 hours of unpaid work for the community, adding: “I am giving you a chance – you have avoided going to prison by the narrowest of margins.”