COURT: Teen led police on car chase through Harrogate before crashing into tree

The case was heard at York Crown Court
The case was heard at York Crown Court

A teenager clocked up speeds of up to 100mph during a car chase through the streets of Harrogate which ended with him crashing into a tree and suffering serious injuries.

George McGeoch, 19, drove through residential areas and raced through 30mph zones at more than double the speed limit as he tried to shake off police, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Nicholas Rooke said the chase began in Otley Road after McGeoch, driving an uninsured VW Golf, sped past an unmarked police car.

Despite driving at speeds of up to 91mph, the police vehicle couldn’t catch the speeding driver as he blazed through College Street, Harlow Park Road and Pannal Ash Road, where he notched up speeds of 60mph in a 20mph zone and overtook a vehicle, causing it to brake sharply.

He then sped into Green Lane where he travelled through a 30mph zone at over 70mph and overtook another two cars before turning into Rossett Green Lane and accelerating away.

McGeoch then rounded a right-hand bend where he lost control of the car, which mounted a pavement and crashed into a tree. The VW came to rest against a wall.

“The tree collapsed across the VW Golf and camouflaged it from sight,” said Mr Rooke. “As officers arrived, the defendant was on his feet and jumped over a wall into a field.”

Following a short chase, McGeoch was caught and arrested.

He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery for a broken breastbone, fractured wrists and various chipped bones.

He was a hospitalised for a week and spent days in intensive care after suffering a collapsed lung, before being discharged and interviewed by police.

He told officers he had sped away because he was not insured to drive the car. His insurance had been cancelled due to non-payments on the policy.

He was charged with dangerous driving, having no insurance and failing to stop for an officer during the incident at about 9.15pm on October 4 last year.

McGeoch admitted the charges and appeared for sentence on Tuesday, when CCTV footage from the police dashboard camera was played in court.

His barrister Danielle Graham said McGeoch admitted his driving “was the behaviour of an idiot”.

She said the teenager was in the third year of an electrician’s apprenticeship at the time, but had left the family home and struggled to pay for his car insurance.

She said the former Harrogate man - now of Ashdene Drive, Crofton, near Wakefield - had used the vehicle without insurance because he needed it to get to work in Pateley Bridge.

Ms Graham said McGeoch had since lost his apprentice job because he could no longer drive due to his conviction.

He had also been forced to scrap his £2,000 car because of the damage it had suffered in the crash.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC described the incident as an “appalling and foolish” piece of driving.

He handed McGeoch a six-month prison sentence but suspended this for a year because of his age and the fact that he was “taking steps to put right the problems in your life”.

McGeoch was also given an 18-month driving ban and ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work.

In addition, he was ordered to pay £960 compensation for damage to the wall and £85 prosecution costs.

He was also made to undergo a 10-day rehabilitation programme.