Man jailed after stolen car chase

A SCHIZOPHRENIC traveller who said voices in head told him to steal a car and drive to Ipswich has been jailed.Rodney Buckley narrowly missed head on collisions with other drivers during a police chase through Claydon, a court heard.

A SCHIZOPHRENIC traveller said voices in his head told him to steal a car and drive to Ipswich.

Rodney Buckley narrowly missed head-on collisions with other drivers during a police chase through Claydon, a court heard.

He was jailed for 15 months and disqualified from driving for two years.

Buckley, 21, formerly of West Meadows travellers site in Ipswich, drove a stolen Rover along the A140 at Coddenham at up to 95 mph.

He then turned onto the A14 and at the Claydon interchange he drove the wrong way down a slip road, narrowly missing two other cars.

Kate Stephenson, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said Buckley continued at speed through Claydon and Barham and into Needham Market, where a "stinger device" was used by police to try to stop the car.

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However, Buckley swerved the Rover round the stinger and only one of the car's tyres was punctured by the sharp nails in the device.

Buckley continued through the 30mph limit in Needham town centre at 75mph, did a U-turn, swerved round a police car which blocked the road and eventually stopped when another stinger device was used near Lovetoft Meadow.

Mr Recorder Nicholas Hamblen QC said: "This was an extremely dangerous piece of driving.

"You drove at speed through built-up areas where there were pedestrians and with manoeuvres which were clearly dangerous. You are a persistent offender in relation to offences of this kind."

The court heard that since 1999, when Buckley was diagnosed schizophrenic, he had repeatedly taken vehicles without consent, driven while disqualified and driven without insurance.

Jude Durr, mitigating, said Buckley had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to aggravated vehicle taking on December 11 last year, driving while disqualified, and to having no insurance.

He said Buckley, now of Bedford, had been in Chelmsford when "he started hearing voices and was possessed to drive back to Ipswich to see his family, so he stole the car."

Mr Durr said Buckley had had a tragic childhood. He said he was moved from one area to another and was bullied about his personal hygiene.

He added that his state of mental health had recently been aggravated by the break-up of his parents.

Mr Hamblen said: "You need sustained medical treatment in a controlled environment and custody is appropriate."

He added that Buckley would have to take an extended re-test before being allowed to drive again.

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