Driving ban for Northumberland man who travelled at 144mph

Self employed electrician Ross McDermott from Seaton Sluice was recorded by police driving at more than double the speed limit

Ross McDermott who was recorded by police travelling at more than double the speed limit
Ross McDermott who was recorded by police travelling at more than double the speed limit

A Northumberland man was caught driving at 144 miles per hour after taking his car out for a Sunday afternoon spin.

Ross McDermott, a self employed electrician, was recorded by police travelling at more than double the speed limit on the A189 Spine Road, magistrates heard yesterday.

McDermott, a 37-year-old dad and husband from Seaton Sluice, had decided to put his foot down to see how fast his BMW could travel.

He was yesterday banned from the road for 15 months after being convicted of dangerous driving and speeding.

McDermott was criticised by magistrates and prosecutors while The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) claimed lives could have been lost.

Prosecutor James Long told Mid and South East Northumberland court at Bedlington how a Northumbria Police officer had been on mobile patrol on a sliproad leading from the A189 southbound carriageway to Cambois, near Bedlington, at around 4.50pm on April 28 last year.

The officer first noticed McDermott’s blue BMW X5 travelling on the Northbound carriageway “at speed.”

A short time later, the policeman heard the same vehicle approaching again at speed. He used a device which recorded McDermott’s car “flash by” at 144mph over a distance of 155.18m.

The officer set off in pursuit of the speeding vehicle and only managed to catch up with and stop the defendant after he was slowed by other traffic.

Mr Long told the court: “The dangerous driving is in essence the speeding.

“That speed and standard of driving fell far below that what would be expected of a competent and careful driver in the circumstances.

“The danger which arises here from that grossly excessive speed, I think is a fair description of it, (is that) there are other users on that main road at that time of day. The road may not have been as busy as some other times but there was other traffic on the road and the danger of driving at that grossly excessive speed should be plain to see.”

McDermott, who lives at Malvern Road and has a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, had already pleaded guilty to speeding.

He yesterday also admitted dangerous driving, having initially denied the charge and been due to stand trial.

Solicitor Richard Copsey told the court his client had decided to take his car out for a “spin” and had decided to see how fast it could travel.

He claimed McDermott had got up to 144mph - as fast as the car could go, then decelerated to within the speed limit immediately.

Mr Copsey insisted the defendant had only travelled at the top speed a “couple” of seconds and that he had only broken the limit for around 20.

“There is no question of racing or putting someone else in danger,” he said. “It was just a single burst over a short period of time although it was excessive speed.”

Magistrates imposed a 15 month driving disqualification, following which the defendant must sit an extended driving test. He was fined £816, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £81 and costs of £200.

Chairman of the bench David Burn had told McDermott: “The risk of injury was immense on this occasion.”

After the case, Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at RoSPA, added: “Speeding is dangerous and puts the lives of the driver, their passengers and other people at risk of serious injury or worse.

“Around 400 people a year are killed in crashes in which someone exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for the conditions.

“Driving at higher speeds also mean that drivers have less time to identify and react to what is happening around them, prolonging the time it takes for the vehicle to stop, and raising the risk of a crash occurring.”

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