Speedsters sentence welcomed

PUBLISHED: 09:21 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 22:22 28 May 2010

Vincent Barrett-McGrath

Vincent Barrett-McGrath

ROAD safety experts welcomed a 56-day ban imposed on a motorist who admitted speeding at more than 100mph along a notorious stretch of road in the Fens. Vincent Barrett-McGrath of Bourne, Lincs appeared before Fenland Magistrates Court on Wednesday where

ROAD safety experts welcomed a 56-day ban imposed on a motorist who admitted speeding at more than 100mph along a notorious stretch of road in the Fens.

Vincent Barrett-McGrath of Bourne, Lincs appeared before Fenland Magistrates' Court on Wednesday where he admitted speeding along the Ramsey Forty Foot Bank, which runs between Chatteris and Ramsey on July 15.

Prosecutor John Nooijen told the court that Barrett-McGrath, 40, was caught at 9.30am, travelling at a speed of 102mph in his BMW 316 series car, along the road which has a 50mph limit.

Last winter five people lost their lives in as many weeks following accidents along the same stretch of road, which runs along the banks of the Forty Foot Drain.

Cambridgeshire County Council is currently looking at whether to spend £400,000 on average speed cameras along the road in a bid to enforce the 50mph limit.

A spokesman said: "We hope this will act as a warning to other drivers. It is very clear from evidence that the majority of accidents along the Forty Foot and indeed other similar rural roads are due to excessive speeds.

"He could have easily harmed himself or more tragically someone else on the road."

He said the council had launched a campaign to educate motorists to slow down along rural roads and a decision on whether to introduce speed cameras at Ramsey Forty Foot, would be made next month.

Supt Mick Gipp, of Cambridgeshire Police said: "This is certainly one of the worst speeds I have heard of in a long, long time. I think motorists need to take this case as an example.

"Speed is a major factor in determining who lives and dies in a crash. You should never think it is safe to drive fast on rural roads, the faster you go the more unexpected any hazards will seem."

In mitigation Martin Newton said Barrett-McGrath, who is a manager at a children's home, had a clean licence and at the time he had just over-taken a car which is why he had increased his speed.

He said Barrett-McGrath needed his car for his employment and that in his 23-years of driving he had never been stopped by police or had any other motoring convictions.

Mr Newton added: "This is the first time he has been in court, and he is very embarrassed, and he apologises to the court."

Presiding magistrate Peter Waterfield said: "102mph on a road that is limited to 50mph is reckless to say the least.

"This particular road has seen a number of fatal accidents recently and is currently being investigated to determine what future actions are necessary to make it safe."

Barrett-McGrath was also fined £400 and ordered to pay £35 costs.

Three Portuguese factory workers from Peterborough died after their car plunged into the Forty Foot in January.

A few weeks earlier Dean Hawes, 28, and his son Jordan, seven of Chatteris also died.

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