BMW driver with half a heart took police on 90mph A38 chase

A BMW driver with half a heart took police on a 90mph chase along the A38, a court heard.

Alex Seldon, aged 24, threw items into the path of the patrol car and ignored the pleas to stop of his frightened partner and a 14-year-old child.

He overtook several vehicles dangerously, jumped red lights and veered on to the wrong side of a mini roundabout at night in Cornwall, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

Seldon in his BMW 316 evaded three police cars for about 20 minutes on a round-trip between Trerulefoot and Saltash.

Judge James Townsend said: “This was an appalling piece of dangerous driving which put other people, including police and other members of the public, at risk.”

He told Seldon that if he had come before the court shortly after the offences in 2018 he would have gone straight to prison.

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But he suspended the jail term after hearing of his medical difficulties which had been “made worse by coronavirus” and the long delay in bringing the case to sentencing.

Seldon, of Duncombe Avenue, Honicknowle, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence on November 15, 2018.

He also admitted taking his former girlfriend’s car and driving without consent on January 2 last year.

Michael Brown, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police in an unmarked car first saw the

BMW overtake them at speed near the Trerulefoot Roundabout on the A38 at 10pm.

He added the officers switched their lights on and tried to pull driver Seldon over.

Dangerous driver Alex Seldon outside Plymouth Crown Court
Dangerous driver Alex Seldon outside Plymouth Crown Court (Image: Plymouth Live)

Mr Brown said he understood that the defendant’s partner and a 14-year-old family friend were in the car at the time.

The barrister added: “The other occupants feared for their personal safety.”

Mr Brown said that Seldon overtook several vehicles on the dual carriageway, crossing over solid white lines and at one point forcing another car to swerve out of his way.

He told an earlier hearing that one police officer described a number of items being thrown out of the window into the path of his vehicle.

Mr Brown said that Seldon drove into Saltash at speeds of 70mph, jumping red lights and driving on the wrong side of a mini roundabout.

He added that back on the A38, the defendant reached an estimated 90mph before finally being boxed in at Menheniot.

Police at the scene of a previous incident at Trerulefoot (file image)
Police at the scene of a previous incident at Trerulefoot (file image) (Image: Penny Cross)

The defendant, whose provisional licence had expired, has also been banned from the road in the past for several speeding offences,

The court heard that Seldon was either on bail or released under investigation when he took his partner’s Vauxhall Astra from her home without her permission in January last year.

He drove it without insurance to Yelverton.

Ali Rafati, for Seldon, said his client was born with half a heart and underwent surgery in February after several postponements.

He added that previously it had taken until a year ago for him to be summonsed for his first court appearance.

Mr Rafati said that Seldon drove away from the police because he wrongly thought he was a disqualified driver – when in fact he had already served the ban.

The barrister said that Seldon had hardly left his house since his operation because he had to shield during the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: “He has had a long period of time to reflect and wants me to tell you not only is he very sorry but that it is inconceivable that he would behave in such a reckless and stupid way in the future.”

Get help if you have been affected by crime

For free practical help and advice contact Victim Support 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 08081689111 or live webchat at victimsupport.org.uk

For bespoke local services call the Devon and Cornwall Victim Care Unit on 01392 475900 or find out more about the unit by visiting victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk

Reporting a crime:

In an emergency call 999. Non emergencies can be reported at dc.police.uk via webchat or online form, alternatively call 101

Judge Townsend handed Seldon a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He must do 25 days of probation’s Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and pay £140 victim surcharge.

He was banned from the road for two years, of which he has a year to serve.

Seldon must do an extended test before he can have his licence back.

Plymouth Live