Car-jacker back behind bars

A RECOVERING heroin addict was behind bars yet again today after his admiration for a sports car in Ipswich took a sinister turn.

A RECOVERING heroin addict was behind bars yet again today after his admiration for a sports car in Ipswich took a sinister turn.

Patrick O'Hara had only been out of prison a matter of hours when he took a massive dose of the anti-anxiety drug Diazepam and targeted the Landspeed car workshop and dealership in Princes Street, pretending he had a gun, before stealing an Audi A4 convertible.

But as the drugs kicked in, O'Hara parked up the car near to the Hare and Hounds pub in Ipswich and fell into a deep sleep. When he finally woke the next day, he handed himself into police.

The drama began after O'Hara of no fixed abode, asked to sit in the passenger seat of an Audi A4 convertible parked outside the Landspeed dealership and was refused by a member of staff.

As the company's director, Simon Cole, got into the vehicle at around 6.30pm last Friday, O'Hara jumped in the passenger seat and ordered him to get out of the car, using his hand to make it look like he had a gun in his pocket.

Mr Cole initially refused but relinquished the vehicle after O'Hara, of no fixed abode, threatened to “bleed him”.

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The 30-year-old serial burglar climbed into the driver's seat and sped off along Civic Drive before parking the car and falling asleep.

Today, Mr Cole told of his ordeal, which took place as he was preparing to drive his client's car after repairs had been carried out on the vehicle.

Mr Cole said: “I told him (O'Hara) to get out of the car in no uncertain terms because I thought he was joking.

“Then he threatened to bleed me. I thought 'I don't like this' so I let him have the car.

“It caught me by surprise.”

O'Hara admitted taking a vehicle without consent, using threatening words or behaviour, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday.

It was the third time O'Hara had been jailed in as many months after being convicted of two burglaries - one of them while on licence for the previous crime. He also served two years for burglary and a string of other offences in 2006.

The court heard that on the day of the carjacking O'Hara had been released on licence from his latest burglary.

His lawyer, Mika Pine, said he had been given 210mg of Diazepam - a week's supply - to help with his drug addiction, but was in “a bad way” and took the whole lot in one go.

She said his judgement was severely impaired and he showed immediate remorse.

O'Hara was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison for using threatening words or behaviour, plus an extra three weeks for committing the offence while on licence.

He was also given concurrent jail terms of eight weeks for taking the vehicle and four weeks for driving while disqualified.

There was no separate penalty for driving with no insurance.

Are repeat offenders treated harshly enough? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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