Shocking helicopter footage highlights dangers posed by ‘digusting’ driver

POLICE have released helicopter footage of a dramatic chase in which a banned driver reached speeds of more then 130mph in a pursuit across Leeds and Wakefield.

The YEP reported earlier this week how Jimmy Connors was jailed for 16 months after a court heard he drove so fast the West Yorkshire Police helicopter struggled to keep up with him.

The force have released footage of the incident to highlight the dangers Connors posed to members of the public and officers involved in the incident.

Superintendent Pat Casserly, from West Yorkshire Police Protective Services Operations, said: “This shocking footage shows first-hand just how disgusting Connors’ driving was that day.

“Roads policing units that were following him were so concerned about how dangerous his driving was that they called off the pursuit and left the helicopter to track him.

“As the judge highlighted, it was only through sheer chance that no-one was killed or seriously injured given the speeds he drove at and the manner of his driving.

“What the footage also clearly illustrates is the invaluable support that the National Police Air Service helicopter brings to roads policing to ensure that people who drive like Connors are brought to justice. The roads are definitely a safer place without him on them.

“My officers will be continuing to proactively police the roads of West Yorkshire with a particular emphasis on what we term ‘the fatal four’, the main factors in fatal road traffic collisions - high speed, drink driving, drug driving and mobile phone use.”

Leeds Crown Court heard Connors reached speeds of more than 130mph during the 30 minute incident

Police officers in an unmarked car followed Connors’ Mercedes as it left The Cottingley Springs traveller site, Leeds, during the early hours of September 18 this year.

Connors failed to stop and sped off on to the M62 towards Tingley.

The force’s helicopter was called to join the pursuit after traffic officers were unable to keep up with Connors’ vehicle.

Helicopter footage of the pursuit was played in court in which the pilot can be heard saying: “We are moving as fast as we can. We are just about matching him, but not gaining.”

Connors left the M62 at Normanton and headed along Doncaster Road into Wakefield city centre.

He then went along Aberford Road through Stanley, Carlton, Robin Hood and East Ardsley before joining the M1 at junction 41.

Connors, of Ravenscliffe Avenue, Birstall, then rejoined the M62 and came off at Birstall.

He was caught after abandoning the vehicle in a housing estate and trying to run away.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and having no insurance.

The court heard he has previous convictions for driving while disqualified.

Richard Reed, mitigating, said Connors had been visiting the Cottingley Springs site and it had “slipped his mind” that he was banned from driving.

Jailing Connors, judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, said: “It is a miracle that nobody was killed and no damage was done.

“This was grossly excessive speed and a determined attempt to escape the police. This is almost as bad a case as it gets.”