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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Car 'took off' during police chase through Carlisle, court told

A motorist who reached speeds of up to 70mph as he fled from police during a chase through Carlisle has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that the Volkswagen Passat Anthony Eilbeck was driving became airborne as he accelerated over speed bumps in Oswald Street in the early hours of May 2 last year.

Prosecutor Becky McGregor described how Eilbeck, 36, drove so fast through the city that police officers decided to abandon the pursuit.

He was initially spotted at 4.20am in Lancaster Street and then in London Road, where he saw police had noticed him and increased his speed, causing black fumes to billow from his exhaust pipe.

In Oswald Street, the car broke the speed limit as he raced over speed bumps.

“On each occasion it was leaving the ground as it was travelling over the speed bumps,” said Miss McGregor. Eilbeck continued to flee from police, reaching speeds of 50mph at Greystone Road and 70mph on Georgian Way.

His barrister David Birrell, who told the court there had been no loss of control, said the background probation report and letters painted a picture of the defendant, of Hillary Grove, Harraby, as a very troubled young man.

“It seems to stem from the untimely death of his parents when he was in his early 20s,” said Mr Birrell.

“He began to abuse his body with alcohol and drugs and as a result of that he has drug induced psychosis.”

Yet there was another, gentler side to the defendant, whose intimidating physical appearance had helped get him work as a club doorman, he added.

His sister had described him as kind and gentle and he was also shy and lacking in confidence. “He’s actually a gentle giant,” said the barrister.

Recorder Kevin Talbot said he was prepared to take the “wholly exceptional” course of suspending a jail term so the defendant can get help with his mental health issues.

He imposed 12 months jail for the two offences Eilbeck admitted – nine months for dangerous and three months for disqualified driving, suspending the sentence for a year.

Eilbeck must undergo a mental health treatment programme, was disqualified from driving for three years and told he must take a fresh test before he can drive again.

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