'Astonishingly stupid' banned driver crashed in Leeds during bid to flee police

A university student already banned from driving has been jailed after making the "astonishingly stupid" decision to get behind the wheel of a friend's car in Leeds.

Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 6:00 am

Aquib Hussain panicked when he saw a marked police car and sped off along Chapeltown Road, before running a red light, hitting a bollard and crashing into an Audi on a side street.

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Police dash cam footage shows the pursuit on January 22 this year, with officers travelling at more than 60mph as they tried to catch him up.

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Aquib Hussainappeared at Leeds Crown Court for sentencing.

Leeds Crown Court heard Hussain was subject to a suspended prison sentence and a driving ban at the time following his conviction in May 2019 for dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Robert Galley said the 21-year-old swapped seats with his friend following the crash in an attempt to cover his tracks but later admitted his role.

He said Hussain's passenger had described being scared by his driving and the Audi driver said she was surprised not to have been hurt given the costly damage to her car.

The court heard his previous conviction resulted from a police pursuit during which Hussain travelled at speeds of more than 70mph.

On that occasion, he panicked when he thought police had seen him speeding and tried to get away from them to avoid getting into trouble.

Jeremy Hill-Baker, mitigating, said Hussain was an intelligent young man with a great future but was "astonishingly stupid" for having driven while subject to a suspended sentence for a similar offence.

He said Hussain's friend had been having trouble with the Toyota car stalling and persuaded him to drive the short distance to their destination.

Mr Hill-Baker said his client was terrified about the possibility of going to jail, adding: "He will lose his job, he will lose his university place and he plays an important role in caring for his mother. Of course, all this should have been at the forefront of his mind when he got into the driving seat."

Hussain, of Easterly Crescent, Gipton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

Judge Simon Phillips QC said it was clear from character references given to the court that Hussain was a young man with great potential but his actions had been "selfish, stupid and dangerous".

"It was your decision to get behind the wheel and your decision to drive as you did; your decision to put other members of the public at risk," he said.

Hussain was jailed for six months for the latest offences, with an additional six months of his suspended prison sentence activated. He was also banned from driving for 36 months.