December 5 2013 Latest news:
Story by: ROB SETCHELL, Reporter
Friday, April 27, 2012
A DRIVER who took a motorbike before leading police officers in a high-speed chase through the Fens has been told he could face prison.
Craig Bathie snatched a £1,500 Honda Fireblade from the driveway of a home in Haddenham, strapping it to the back of his van.
The 27-year-old then reached speeds of 80mph as police chased him along the 50mph Forty Foot Bank. Officers finally arrested him in a field, near Pondersbridge, after a 12-minute pursuit.
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told Monday’s hearing at Cambridge Crown Court that Bathie could face a maximum sentence of 16 months in prison.
He said: “I’m not making any promises at all. You know the worst that can happen from what I said earlier but whether that is actually what happens depends very much on the contents of the pre-sentence report.”
He added: “These were serious offences which would normally merit an immediate custodial term.”
Bathie, of Padham Road, Peterborough, admitted one count of taking without consent, one count of dangerous driving and a summary offence of failing to stop.
Azza Brown, prosecuting, said police first spotted Bathie driving his van on Wenny Road, Chatteris, on January 21 last year. Officers became suspicious after he started overtaking vehicles and they put their blue lights on.
Bathie accelerated as police pursued him along Doddington Road and the Forty Foot Bank, between Chatteris and Ramsey. The court heard there were speed cameras along the road but “none of them were activated at the time”.
Ms Brown said: “He turned off his lights for a couple of seconds before overtaking a vehicle. He then turned them back on, and remained in the centre of the road doing 75mph.”
Police used a stinger to bring the van to a halt at Pondersbridge but Bathie ran off into a field and officers continued to chase him on foot.
Ms Brown said: “When he heard the police helicopter above he shouted ‘Is that for me?”
Bathie was eventually caught and arrested after he struggled to climb up a bank. The motorbike was found, with its cover, in the back of his van.
The court heard that Bathie had previous convictions dating back to 2000, including handling stolen goods and dangerous driving.
Michael Proctor, mitigating, said: “It is of some substantial merit that since this incident that’s alleged against him, he has remained completely offence free.”
Mr Proctor said Bathie suffered from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and had been having psychotherapy sessions.
He added: “It (the chase) happened over a relatively short period of time and there were no obvious incidents where other vehicles were put in danger. Although, of course, there’s always a risk driving at that speed.”
Bathie will be sentenced next month.