Car crash driver jailed for ‘night of utter madness’

A Yeovil man has been jailed for a ‘night of utter madness’ that started with him assaulting a police officer and ended in stealing and crashing cars. Mathew Barratt, 29, crept into a house and stole keys belonging to an Audi. He returned to the same property a few hours later and took a Skoda.

His spree of offending ended when he crashed the Skoda into a parked tipper van. Barratt appeared at Taunton Crown Court to be sentenced for six offences, including aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, assaulting an emergency worker and stealing car keys. He said he had been having relationship problems at the time and was suffering ’emotional turmoil’.

The judge said he had an appalling criminal record and locked him up for two years and one month. READ MORE: Driver left with broken collar bone in Bridgwater as silver VW pick-up truck flees scene Prosecutor Mr William Hunter said just before midnight on May 15 police were called to Eastland Road to reports of a disturbance involving Barratt.

It ended with him throwing some of his foul-smelling clothes in a police officer’s face. A few minutes later Barratt stole keys from inside a house in Fielding Road. The family who lived there were in bed asleep at the time and heard nothing.

Barratt drove the Audi, which was not roadworthy, 15 miles to Ilminster where it accidentally caught fire. Barratt then broke into a property in Ilminster and took a second car, which he drove back to Yeovil. He went back to the same house in Fielding Road and took keys belonging to a Skoda.

He failed to stop for police and crashed it into the tipper van in Matthews Road. The court was told Barratt’s offending was all linked to relationship issues he was having at the time. It was described as a ‘night of utter madness’.

Barratt’s behaviour was influenced by his drug use. He is now maturing and ready for the first time to get help to quit drugs. He has ADHD and some mental health issues but is turning his life around getting new skills.

The defendant asked for another offence of aggravated vehicle taking and a theft to be taken into consideration when sentencing. He has 89 previous crimes to his name. In 2018 Barratt was jailed for causing serious injury to a friend by dangerous driving.

Recorder Malcolm Galloway said: “You have a dreadful history of offending.” He disqualified Barratt, of the Manse, Yeovil, from driving for a further 30 months. Barratt pleaded guilty to possession of a class B drug at a previous hearing at Yeovil Magistrates Court on Tuesday 17 May. For that offence he was fined GBP150.

PC Jim Card said: “We welcome the custodial sentence Mathew Barratt has received today. “Burglaries cause a huge amount of distress to victims, both emotionally and financially, and there is no doubt he warrants time in prison for his offending. “We will continue to pursue burglars like Barratt to help victims get the justice they deserve and to make neighbourhoods safe.”

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