20-year-old unlicensed driver jumped red lights during high-speed Ipswich car chase with police

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

An unlicensed 20-year-old driver was involved in a high-speed car chase with police, jumping red lights and swerving on to the wrong side of the road, a court heard.

Raqhiem Venner was still on licence from a 36-month custodial sentence when the pursuit occurred in Ipswich.

Venner is now due to be sentenced at the town’s crown court after admitting dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, and driving without a licence or insurance.

He was released from his previous Ipswich Crown Court sentence in August last year after being convicted of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. Venner was sentenced in August 2013 for offences committed three months earlier.

At his latest court appearance before Ipswich magistrates prosecutor Lucy Miller said police were taking part in an operation in the Portman Road area on March 25 when a silver Mercedes A140 was brought to their attention.

They located the car at the junction of London Road and Hadleigh Road. The Mercedes then jumped a red light and turned into Hadleigh Road.

Mrs Miller said officers put their cars’ lights and sirens on but the Mercedes failed to stop despite being followed by marked and unmarked police vehicles.

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It continued travelling out of town at excess speed and seemed to be swerving all over the road to stop police getting past it.

At the T-junction with the A1071 Venner went through the traffic lights causing a white estate car to perform an emergency stop to avoid a collision.

After the Mercedes turned left towards London Road it went on to the wrong side of the road near the Holiday Inn to get past traffic queueing at the lights.

It then turned right into London Road where a marked police car managed to get in front of the Mercedes, bringing it to a halt before it could get to the A12.

Magistrates were told Venner, of Romford, stopped his vehicle before getting out and running across the dual carriageway into the Holiday Inn car park. However, he had not applied the handbrake on the Mercedes and it rolled into a police car.

Venner continued to try to evade officers shedding his jacket before fleeing across fields towards the A1071 prior to his arrest.

Victoria Hill, representing Venner, said: “He panicked. He didn’t think about his actions that day.”

The court was told Venner knew he did not have a driving licence or insurance.

Miss Hill added: “He was essentially thinking about going back to prison as he was released in August 2014. It was something that was fresh in his mind. He is remorseful.”

After fining Venner £50 for failing to stop and ordering him to pay £20 to the victims’ fund magistrates said the dangerous driving matter was so serious that it could only be sentenced at crown court.

Venner was released on bail with a condition that he did not come back to Suffolk until his sentencing.