Friday, January 20, 2012

Former police officer in naked car chase

A former police constable who was jailed after leading ex-colleagues on a car chase down one-way streets – wearing only a pair of training shoes – has failed in a Court of Appeal bid for freedom. Andrew Stuart Easterby, 30, sped off when officers spotted him driving naked around Scarborough in the early hours of April 25 last year. The former Scarborough constable, of Lawns Farm Green, Leeds, had been on a visit to the town with a girlfriend and had shed his clothes in preparation for a back-seat romp with the woman.

Last month, following a guilty plea to dangerous driving, Easterby, who had previously resigned from the force following a drink-drive incident, was jailed for six months at York Crown Court. He appealed, complaining that his time in prison is much harder than for other criminals because of his past employment, but had his case rejected by top judges. Lawyers for Easterby told the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Holman and Mr Justice Openshaw, that he had already suffered in prison.

Within days of his being jailed, razor blades had been put into his food and he had to be moved to a separate wing, where he was in almost complete isolation. But, giving judgment, Mr Justice Openshaw said the driving had been very serious, involving him driving down five one-way streets and turning off his lights. He eventually stopped and parked the car, leaving the woman inside, and was found by police hiding behind a bin, with nothing but a pair of trainers to cover his blushes. He admitted driving off because he recognised the policemen who had stopped him and was embarrassed at being caught naked in the car.

Mr Justice Openshaw said: “It is, in our judgment, plainly a seriously aggravating factor that the dangerous driving took place in the context of a police chase. It is true there was no accident and no one was knocked down, but that it largely a matter of chance. There were a number of passers-by about and the danger was materially increased by his driving down so many one-way streets. Accordingly, we have come to the conclusion that this short sentence of imprisonment was correct in principle.” The appeal was dismissed.

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