A drink driver has dodged jail after driving at speeds of around 120mph before crashing at a roundabout and running away on foot.

Michael Cheshire had been tearing along the M25 towards Watford in a Volkswagen Golf when he came off at the J22 slip-road at London Colney and crashed.

The 32-year-old was later found by police after fleeing from the car and failed a roadside breath test.

He appeared at St Albans Crown Court for sentencing on Tuesday, June 1, after pleading guilty to driving dangerously and being over the drink drive limit on March 11.

The court heard how Cheshire had first been spotted by police on June 25, 2020, around 11.15pm when he had been speeding in High Street, Potters Bar.

The officers, who had lost sight of Cheshire, had said that the speed he was going at made their car shake.

But a few minutes later he had been picked up again by other officers in Southgate Road, with his driving having been described as "erratic".

The court heard that Cheshire then drove onto the M25 and had pulled away from officers behind him, who described his speed being around 120mph.

However, the car was found after it crashed at a roundabout on the J22 slip-road.

The car had been abandoned by Cheshire, who was later found by police and accepted being the driver.

He failed a roadside breath test and was taken to a police station, where he was found to have recorded 47mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath – the legal limit is 35mg.

Peter Saville, defending, told the court that “this was the mistake that woke him up”.

He said Cheshire, who had been in the car with other passengers, was egged on to drive quicker and is remorseful for his actions.

Mr Saville added that Cheshire had been furloughed from his job as an HGV driver and has now given up the job following the incident.

But he said the defendant has “immense pride” in working for his young family and has started up a business with his uncle.

Recorder Stan Reiz described the incident as a “prolonged course of bad driving” and that there was larger culpability on the defendant’s part.

But he said Cheshire was in gainful employment and found it “comforting” that he was a working man, adding that the defendant “deeply regrets his actions on the night”.

Cheshire, of Great Elms Road, Hemel Hempstead, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work.

He was also disqualified from driving and ordered to pay £425.

A fundamental principle of justice is that it must be seen to be done. It is established in the UK that court cases should be heard in public. This principle of open justice is acclaimed on a number of grounds – as a safeguard against judicial error, as a deterrent to perjury, to assist the deterrent function of criminal trials and to permit the revelation of matters of public interest. 

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