Man jailed following 95mph chase down the wrong side of Stanningley Road

A man who led police on two high-speed car chases - one down the wrong side of a dual carriageway - was sentenced this week.

By Richard Beecham
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 5:30 pm

Robbie McLaughlin, 31, of Stratford Avenue, Beeston, had pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving, two counts of driving whilst disqualified and one count of using abusive words/behaviour to cause harm/distress.

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A sentencing hearing at Leeds Crown Court heard how, on February 19 this year, a black BMW was spotted at an Esso garage in Rooley Lane, Bradford. Police officers, understanding the driver was already banned, attempted to open the passenger door, noticing McLaughlin at the wheel.

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The sentencing took place at Leeds Crown Court.

He then drove away from the petrol station, before reaching speeds of 100mph in dark, wet conditions, and continuing to Odsal Top and down Huddersfield Road. When he was halted by two cars in his way, he forced his vehicle through them, before eventually escaping from police officers.

On March 8, McLaughlin was spotted by police in Beeston driving a black Mercedes, travelling down Gelderd Road towards Leeds city centre. During a chase with the police, he drove through a red light near Armley Gyratory, before reaching speeds of 95mph on Stanningley Road. In addition to his excessive speeds, he was also driving on the wrong side of the carriageway.

The court also heard how, on Christmas Eve in 2021, McLaughlin went to pick up his car from Elland Road Police Station, despite being banned from driving. When he was told by a woman working there that he needed to present a full driver's licence and evidence of insurance, he became aggressive and shouted an abusive phrase at her.

Mitigating for McLaughlin, Holly Clegg told the court her client, currently on remand, had never been in custody before and had suffered from numerous psychiatric problems over the years.

She added: "He has learned to deal with his problems but he was at a low point due to negative influences in his life - but he understands it does not excuse his behaviour.

"He felt abandoned by his mother - he said he had fallen out with is grandmother and felt he had 'nothing to live for'.

"Custody is not somewhere where he would ever want to find himself again."

On the incident in the police station, Ms Clegg said her client had been waiting "all day" for his car, and felt he was being "messed around " by the police.

Ms Clegg said: "He knows it was wrong, and did not want to upset the lady, but he lost control."

Sentencing McLaughnin, Recorder Anesh Pema referred to the indicent on February 19, saying: "The police officers could not catch you - they could not come close to catching you. Both offences involved police chases.

"You have had substantial involvement with mental health services, and the offences took place when you were at a low point in your life.

"It seems to me that it's only by sheer fortune that no one was injured. People who commit dangerous driving in the way you did must expect the custody threshold to be passed."

He sentenced McLaughlin to 18 months in prison.