Leeds motorist who drove stolen Mercedes at police officer told: 'It's a miracle nobody was hurt'

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A motorist who twice fled police and purposely drove at an officer amid other life-risking manoeuvres was told by that a judge that his conduct was“absolutely appalling”.

Ishmael Afzal was jailed at Leeds Crown Court this week for the two high-speed chases, with the judge adding that it was a “miracle that nobody was hurt”.

The 24-year-old, who has multiple previous driving convictions, drove on burst tyres, ran red lights, reached three-times the speed limit, mounted pavements, narrowly avoided a woman with a pushchair and rammed police vehicles in a desperate bid to escape.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the early hours of May 23 last year, a black Mercedes A220 was reported stolen from the Dewsbury area. It was seen heading towards the Tingley area before being spotted by a patrolling officer, who gave chase.

Afzal (pictured) drove directly at an officer trying to deploy a stinger device to burst the tyres his speeding Mercedes. (pic by WYP / National World)Afzal (pictured) drove directly at an officer trying to deploy a stinger device to burst the tyres his speeding Mercedes. (pic by WYP / National World)
Afzal (pictured) drove directly at an officer trying to deploy a stinger device to burst the tyres his speeding Mercedes. (pic by WYP / National World) | WYP / National World

A stinger was set up, but Afzal spotted it and drove at the waiting police officer to avoid the tyre-bursting device, but failed and all four tyres quickly deflated. Despite being unable to control the vehicle thereafter, he continued to drive in an erratic manner, reaching speeds up to 80mph.

Officers then tried to “box him in” by surrounding the Mercedes with police vehicles, but he then purposely drove into one of them. The Mercedes was brought to a standstill on a grass bank and he was quickly detained. He told officers it was his cousin’s car and was angry with him so had reported the vehicle stolen.

However, exactly six months later on November 23, at 11.17am, officers in an unmarked police car in Beeston witnessed a white Mercedes cut across them and accelerate away “harshly”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They activated their blue lights but driver Afzal continued, reaching 60mph in a 20mph zone on Coupland Road. The court heard he lost control of the back end of the vehicle several times, ran red lights at speed and smashed his wing mirror.

He then reached 82mph on Tempest Road, and more than 70mph on Dewsbury Road, mounted a pavement and narrowly avoided a person pushing an e-scooter. He also tore past a woman with a pushchair waiting to cross the road.

He reached 100mph on the A6110 and then 92mph on the 40mph-limit on Dewsbury Road. Again, the police tried to block him in and he reversed at speed into a police car. He got out and fled on foot but was quickly detained. His passenger in the car did not make any attempt to run. The damage to the police vehicle came to more than £2,100.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Afzal, a married father-of-one of Theodore Street, Cross Flatts, admitted two counts of dangerous driving, failing to stop and driving without a licence or insurance. He has four previous convictions for 12 offences, including drug-driving, driving while banned and dangerous driving, for which he received a 31-week suspended jail sentence in 2018.

Mitigating, Jeremy Barton told the court: “It’s to his credit that he had the good sense to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity. He has had a lot of time to reflect on his driving and the risks he put himself in and other road users. It’s perhaps by the grace of God that nobody else was injured.”

A probation report found that Afzal was aware of the stupidity of his driving and had since found a job. Mr Barton added that Afzal had also tackled his cannabis and alcohol use since last year.

The judge, Recorder Harry Vann told him: “They were absolutely appalling speeds. The risks you posed to other people are made absolutely stark. Frankly, it’s a miracle nobody was hurt. You have a history of driving while disqualified. You have scant regard for the requirements of the law.”

He jailed Afzal for 24 months and handed him a four-year driving ban.