A danger driver has been banned from the road for life after a “disturbing” drug-fuelled police chase in a stolen £10,000 Mercedes.
Henry Stephen led police on a high-speed pursuit across Aberdeen after they spotted him behind the wheel of the stolen car.
The 36-year-old later told officers he had been given the stolen keys by a “young crew”.
After pleading guilty to charges including dangerous driving, his third such offence, Sheriff William Summers branded his conduct “disturbing” and said he was “profoundly troubled” by the driving.
He hit Stephen with a lifetime ban from driving and jailed him for just over two years.
Fiscal depute Christy Ward told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the Mercedes vehicle, valued at £10,000, had been stolen from outside the owner’s address on Queen’s Road in the early hours of March 25, after the keys had been stolen from inside the house.
Ms Ward said: “At about 8.55am that day, police on mobile patrol saw the stolen car being driven towards Great Northern Road by the accused.
“The officer activated their emergency response equipment, indicating for the vehicle to stop.
“Instead of stopping, the accused drove off at speed. Police pursued the car.
“Whilst trying to evade the police vehicle, the Mercedes mounted a traffic island and negotiated the roundabout at St Machar Drive, Great Northern Road and Hilton Drive in an anti-clockwise direction.
“The Mercedes proceeded on Hilton Drive where it travelled at excessive speeds and overtook other road users.”
Ms Ward told the court the car continued driving in the same manner, negotiating another roundabout onto Westburn Drive and driving “at high speeds” towards Ashgrove Road West.
The fiscal said: “On approaching the traffic light controlled junction at Ashgrove Road West, the traffic light phase was red and the Mercedes braked aggressively, causing the anti-lock braking system to activate.”
The vehicle continued onto Braefoot Road, Ash-hill Drive, Ash-hill Road and Cairncry Road, travelling at “excessive speed” before joining North Anderson Drive where it was lost to view.
Witness saw the car speeding into the car park at Rona Place, before driving up Tiree Crescent and sliding around the corner “as if the driver was not fully in control of it”.
It then “screeched to a stop” and four people got out and entered the block of flats at Rona Place.
Civilians flagged down police and alerted them, at which point three of the four exited the building, one of them advising police which flat she lived in.
Ms Ward said: “Police entered and found the accused within that flat.
“He was noticed to be under the influence of drugs due to his slurred speech, glazed eyes, dilated pupils and general behaviour.
“The keys for the Mercedes were later found under a sofa within the flat.”
Stephen, of Swannay Square, Aberdeen, pled guilty to reset of the stolen car, dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drink or drugs, and without insurance.
He also admitted a shoplifting charge.
Defence agent Alex Burn said his client had had difficulties with alcohol around the time of the offending, particularly the shoplifting matter.
He added: “He, in fact, did not steal the car. It was reset.
“The position is he was given a set of keys which had clearly been stolen by others when they attended at a property. He described them as a young crew.
“He stupidly drove the car. When the police became involved he’s effectively trying to evade capture by the police.
“He’s apologetic. He understands this would have caused great difficulties for the police and other road users.
“He realises, at his age, he must now plough a new furrow. He can’t go on like this.”
Sheriff William Summers said: “I’m profoundly troubled by the nature of your client’s driving and the fact this is his third dangerous driving conviction.”
Addressing Stephen directly, the sheriff said: “This is a disturbing display of criminality.
“It includes an episode of extraordinarily dangerous driving at high speed while being pursued by police, while under the influence of drink or drugs.”
He ordered Stephen to be banned from driving for life and jailed him for 26 months.