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Murder witness admits joy riding

PUBLISHED: 02:36 18 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

TEENAGE joyriders have admitted stealing a car and riding in it until it crashed into a telegraph pole, magistrates in Ipswich have heard.

Shaun Dighton, 19, of Nacton Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated vehicle taking and allowing himself to be carried in the car on November 17 last year.

TEENAGE joyriders have admitted stealing a car and riding in it until it crashed into a telegraph pole, magistrates in Ipswich have heard.

Shaun Dighton, 19, of Nacton Road, pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated vehicle taking and allowing himself to be carried in the car on November 17 last year.

A 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also admitted an identical offence. He was sentenced to an 11-month referral order and ordered to pay £150 compensation to the car owner and £150 to BT.

In April last year, Dighton was a key witness of the Simon Williams murder trial. Norwich Crown Court heard how he was with friends with Jamie Briggs, 16, and Lee Ford, 17 - who were eventually convicted - at the time of the murder in May 2000.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates Court prosecutor Pat Taylor said a silver Honda Civic car had been left outside the owner's home in Ipswich.

She said: "The vehicle was taken without consent and involved in an accident when it collided with a telegraph pole valued at £5,000.

"A witness heard a car revving its engine loudly at 7.40am, then a skid and a crash. They opened the curtains to see the car had collided with a telegraph pole, and two people decamped.

"One was apprehended at the scene, and the other later at his home address by the police.

"When interviewed by police both accepted they were in the car, but neither accepts they were the driver - it is not disputed that two people decamped, but it has not been ascertained who the driver was."

John Hughes, mitigating for Dighton, said: "He didn't want to get into the vehicle but he was urged to do so by the other defendant.

"Shaun banged his head in the accident – on the dashboard, as we say he was in the passenger seat.

"He has not been in trouble for two and a half years. It was an impulsive act. He initially didn't want to participate but eventually gave in to persuasion."

The case was adjourned to January 29, for pre-sentence reports to be prepared.

Magistrates warned that all sentencing options would be considered, but ruled out prison.

Dighton was remanded on conditional bail.

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