Tailgating driver caught by cops

A DRIVER caught on camera tailgating three cars and speeding in wet weather on the A12 is £200 worse off today.However, Paul Ashford escaped a driving ban after a jury decided his actions were not dangerous.

A DRIVER caught on camera tailgating three cars and speeding in wet weather on the A12 is £200 worse off today.

However, Paul Ashford escaped a driving ban after a jury decided his actions were not dangerous.

The 27-year-old was followed for more than ten miles by a police officer in an unmarked car who caught him driving closely behind the vehicles, including an HGV at speeds of over 80 miles per hour.

Ashford first drew the attention of sergeant John Hawkes of Martlesham road policing unit when he passed him at 80 miles per hour on the A12 close to the Stratford St Mary junction on July 1 this year.

Sgt Hawkes moved into the fast lane behind Ashford and switched on his video recording equipment to catch his driving on camera.

Giving evidence at Ipswich crown court yesterday, Sgt Hawkes said that in his judgement the actions of Ashford amounted to dangerous driving.

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The jury was shown the video of Sgt Hawkes following the offender on the A12 to the Copdock junction where he turned onto the A14.

They watched as he was shown driving closely on the tail of a white van, a black car and an HGV.

As the offender approached the Sproughton junction of the A14, Sgt Hawkes overtook and switched on his rear-facing camera to see if Ashford would take the bait and tailgate him as well.

However the video showed that he maintained his distance and followed at a speed of around 70 miles per hour.

At this point he was pulled over by Sgt Hawkes, admitting that his driving could have been construed as “without due care and attention”.

The court was told that Ashford had already admitted this offence at an earlier hearing before Ipswich magistrates, however the crown had decided to press for more serious charges of dangerous driving.

Under cross-examination from Mr Paxton, Ashford again admitted his driving had been careless but denied it had been dangerous.

The jury acquitted him of dangerous driving but finding him guilty of careless driving.

The lesser charge does not carry a mandatory driving ban, and Ashford, of Sturgeons Way, Stanton, was fined £200 and his licence was endorsed by six penalty points.

Judge Simon Spence said: “Fortunately no accident was caused and no one was injured. You were driving far too close to the vehicle in front and if they had slammed on their brakes disaster would have followed.”

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