West Yorkshire car chase robber targeted elderly

Bryan Astin    ... west yorkshire police ''see Tony Gardner
Bryan Astin ... west yorkshire police ''see Tony Gardner
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A DANGEROUS criminal who stole a car and used it to rob two pensioners before crashing in a high-speed police chase has been jailed indefinitely.

Bryan Astin, 35, smashed the stolen Suzuki into two cars before deliberately reversing at a police officer as he went to get out of his car to arrest him.

Moments earlier, he had come close to dragging a 73-year-old woman under the wheels of the car as she fought back when he snatched her handbag from her on Kingshead Road, Mirfield.

Leeds Crown Court heard how Astin was high on class A drugs and had overdosed on painkillers at the time of his crime spree on January 5.

A day earlier, he had stolen the car after going into Huddersfield Sports Centre and taking the keys from a coat pocket.

He robbed a 68-year-old woman of her handbag, which contained £350, before parking up and returning to his bail hostel.

The next day, he attacked the 73-year-old woman as she returned from a Spanish lesson.

The woman fought back and swore at Astin as he tried to get back into the stolen car, grabbing hold of the steering wheel.

David Mackay, prosecuting, said: “The defendant asked if she was OK and she said, ‘No, I bloody aren’t.’ He then drove off with the wheels spinning.”

Police spotted Astin driving erratically and followed him.

He drove through Ravensthorpe at high speed and ploughed into two cars at a junction before reversing at the police car. He then smashed into another car and was arrested.

Astin told officers he had driven that way after watching TV programmes and thought police would not pursue him.

The court heard Astin had 160 previous convictions and was out of prison on licence for a robbery in which an elderly man was kicked to the ground.

Astin, of no fixed address, admitted robbery, theft, driving while disqualified, dangerous driving and driving while unfit.

He asked for two further offences of robbery and burglary to be taken into consideration.

Adam Birkby, for Astin, said his client had a bad record but urged judge Alistair McCallum not to impose an indeterminate sentence as he had not caused anyone serious harm in the past.

The judge said Astin must serve a minimum of three years in prison before he can apply to the parole board for release.

He said: “Your good luck has narrowly avoided causing serious harm in the past. It doesn’t seem to me that the public should assume in future that that good luck is going to hold out.”

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