Menace faces jail after another crash

ROAD menace James Ratcliffe is facing jail today after admitting dangerous driving for the second time in 18 months.The 24-year-old, who sustained life-changing injuries when his car turned into a fireball at Nacton last year, ended up in hospital again when he attempted to evade police in Ipswich.

ROAD menace James Ratcliffe is facing jail today after admitting dangerous driving for the second time in 18 months.

The 24-year-old, who sustained life-changing injuries when his car turned into a fireball at Nacton last year, ended up in hospital again when he attempted to evade police in Ipswich.

In his latest escapade Ratcliffe's car collided with a taxi near the town centre leaving innocent victims of the crash needing hospital treatment.

He pleaded to dangerous driving when he appeared at Ipswich Crown Court.

Ratcliffe also admitted driving while disqualified, failing to stop when requested by the police, failing to give a specimen of breath and driving without insurance on the same date. He also admitted failing to stop when asked by police a week earlier.

Initial reports to police were concerned Ratcliffe had been drinking in Pals in the Cattle Market before getting behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Calibra on May 26.

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When a police office tried to stop him Ratcliffe was said to have driven off down Dog's Head Street.

Another officer, who was on foot, tried to stop him but had to get out of his way.

Ratcliffe drover along Tacket Street, Orwell Place and Eagle Street, before crashing into the taxi at the junction of Rope Walk and Grimwade Street.

All those involved in the collision were treated in hospital.

Marc Brown mitigating during Ratcliffe's pleas and directions hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, said his client had breached a suspended sentence order imposed in September last year for dangerous driving.

Mr Brown said Ratcliffe of The Crescent, Great Horkesley, near Colchester “realises there will be inevitable custody”.

The court heard Ratcliffe, who appeared at the hearing on crutches, had suffered mental and physical disabilities during last year's dangerous driving incident.

His solicitor asked the court to order a neurologist's report and a pre-sentence report before sentencing him.

Judge John Holt ordered the reports and said Ratcliffe would be sentenced during the week commencing September 17.

Ratcliffe was remanded in custody until then.

In January last year Ratcliffe was in a coma for nine days after his car crashed into another vehicle and burst into flames on the old road to Felixstowe at Nacton.

Pc Jeff McIlroy pulled the then 23-year-old and his girlfriend from the blazing vehicle after the high-speed smash. The crash occurred after he drove off from police who wanted to speak to him near the A14 and Nacton interchange following an incident the previous month.

Ratcliffe was sentenced to 64 weeks in prison, suspended for two years and banned from driving for five years following the dangerous driving offence. He also admitted failing to stop and driving while disqualified and other offences.

At the time Ipswich Crown Court Ratcliffe had appeared in court on 19 previous occasions for 54 offences.