Driver killed cat during dangerous car chase as he tried to outrun police in Gipton

A teenage driver killed a cat when he struck the animal during a police car chase in Leeds.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 4:45 am

Vitor Lopes was sent to a young offender institution for six months over the incident in Gipton on April 21 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Lopes was driving a car without a licence when he saw a police car on Coldcotes Drive.

The 19-year-old sped off but was followed by the officers.

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Leeds Crown Court

Lopes drove across a dual carriageway without stopping to check for traffic.

Police dash cam footage played to the court showed the defendant driving above the speed limit in built up areas, putting pedestrians at risk.

He struck and killed a cat during the incident.

Officers followed Lopes for seven minutes before abandoning the chase due to the danger it posed to members of the public.

One of the officers recognised Lopes and went to his home address.

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He was not at home at the time but the defendant approached officers in the area a short time later and gave himself up.

Lopes, of Brander Drive, Gipton, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He has one previous conviction for possessing cannabis.

The teenager appeared in court without legal representation.

When asked by Judge Rodney Jameson QC if he wanted to say anything about the offence, Lopes said: "I regret every moment and want to apologise to everyone that I have hurt."

Sentencing Lopes, Judge Jameson said: "I have to consider whether it is possible to avoid an immediate custodial sentence.

"I have to tell you that because of the seriousness of the offence it is not.

"Police chases really have to be discouraged by the courts.

"Those who drive badly and find themselves being pursued by the police must stop.

"It must be made plain that except in the most exceptional circumstances, it will be an immediate custodial sentence."