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Friday, 4 August 2017
Mother-of-two jailed for leading police on 120mph car chase
Aspeeding motorist has been jailed after leading police on a car chase where she exceeded 120mph, with the judge branding it as the worst case of dangerous driving he had ever seen.
Megan Nolan, 24, hit the high speeds on the motorway in order to evade capture, and only stopped when her VW Scirocco car engine blew.
The mother-of-two from Wythenshawe, Manchester, was jailed for a year after a judge at Manchester Crown Court told her it was the worst he had seen in his 15 year career.
Judge Martin Rudland told the uninsured driver that her driving was "selfish and ludicrous", and to not send her to custody would be "wildly wrong".
Nolan, who planned to take a job as a teaching assistant in September, had been out drinking with friends in Bury on June 4 this year before making her way home at around 1am, where her speeding caught the attention of a Greater Manchester Police patrol on the M60 who gave chase to the vehicle.
The vehicle lost her after she ploughed through two red lights into oncoming traffic, but a second police patrol caught up to her again rejoining the motorway, and made attempts to get her to stop.
It is only by the largest fortune that no person was injuredJudge Rudland
She had pleaded guilty at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court at an earlier hearing to dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
In CCTV played to the court, Nolan's black 16 plate Volkswagen can be seen weaving between the light traffic on the motorway, before coming off at Wythenshawe and leading the police round residential areas at speeds exceeding 70mph.
She ran multiple red lights and drove on the wrong side of the road before her engine began smoking and she had no option but to abandon her vehicle after over 20 minutes of police pursuit.
When watching the footage back, Nolan had her head in her hands and began to cry, looking at her mother who was in the public gallery.
Prosecuting, Andrew Mackintosh, told the court: "The dangerous driving was caught on CCTV and there is two sections of footage from two separate police cars.
"The first spotted a car driving on the M60 at 1.15am on the morning of Sunday the 4 June this year.
"It was dark with little traffic on the road but the conditions were good. The police caught up with the black Volkswagen Sirocco and engaged their blues and twos after a few minutes.
"They were in pursuit of the car which was going in excess of 100mph, which then came off of the motorway and went through two sets of red lights.
"The police pursuit lost sight of the vehicle but another vehicle was nearby and spotted the car going back on to the motorway.
"The pursuit continued and the cause was travelling in excess of 120mph on this occasion.
"The vehicle was forced to come off at the Wythenshawe junction where she ran a further three red lights.
"Police continued pursuit efforts and in the residential area the car was going in speeds excess of 50mph.
"It was a pursuit for over 20 minutes, where no one was hurt, no damage was caused except to her own vehicle.
"She was forced to pull the car over after it began smoking, when she alighted from the vehicle and tried to run but was arrested a short way away.
"When she was interviewed by police she admitted that she had been drinking in Bury, and had been driving home when the officers put their lights on and she panicked.
"She admitted the quality of her driving was as was shown on the footage. She had no insurance and she said she was a stupid idiot who was lucky that no one had been hurt"
Defending, Mike Harman, argued that Nolan had 'broken down' because of an upcoming court case where she was to be a prosecution witness, which was of great stress to her.
He said: "This young lady at 24 years of age has nothing, not even a youth caution or reprimand on her record.
"She has two young boys ages five and three, from a good family and is quite softly spoken.
"From the footage we have seen this time and time again, but with burglars getting away from the scene or drug dealers with drugs in the side of the car or the boot.
"That is not the case here. I have asked her why, probation have asked her why everybody has asked her why and she herself cannot explain it.
"Sometimes thoroughly decent people are only human and humans make mistakes and so do thoroughly decent people, its inexplicable.
"She herself says that she had two to three drinks, and the background is gone into in the pre-sentence report.
"Sometimes these things fester and people worry about the, and worry about giving evidence in cases and they just break down and do utterly stupid things.
"There was no collision, only her vehicle was damages and mercifully no one was injured and that is good fortune no design of the defendant.
"She is classed as a high risk victim and currently being supported. It would be catastrophic for her and her children if she was sent to Styal prison today.
"She has got a job starting in September where she would ha employed as a teaching assistant and that would benefit the tax payer.
"She received £1000 in welfare benefits a months, and if she works then she will be earning her own money.
"If she gets sent to prison then that all goes out of the window."
Nolan sobbed as she was sentenced to a year in prison, Judge Rudland told her: "You have no previous convictions. I note that you are a mother with two children aged three and five.
"You have pleaded guilty to the offence of dangerous driving and diving without insurance.
"There is a phrase that I myself am never very keen to hear and to hear myself saying it is of a great surprise to me.
"I have to tell you Megan Nolan that this was the worst piece of dangerous driving that I have ever witnessed in my 15 years on the bench.
"It would be wildly wrong if me in the public interest not to mark driving of this sort with a custodial sentence.
"For over 20 minutes you indulged in the most brazen and sustained piece of driving with police chasing you sirens and bells going within three of following you.
"You gave not thought to anybody including yourself or the two children you have who were asleep in bed at home.
"You had been drinking which I suspect was the reason you were attempting to evade the police by jumping red lights, negotiating junctions, travelling at excessive speeds and weaving throughout traffic without any thought to the approaching traffic.
"You attained speeds on English roads Miss Nolan in excess of 120mph. No amount of thoughtful and well put together mitigating can justify that.
"It is only by the largest fortune that no person was injured, but there are those people who would have been woken by the sirens and lights of the police in their own homes as the chased you in the course of your risky, selfish and ludicrous driving.
"You will be deprived of your liberty for a substantial period of time. I take no pleasure in depriving your children of your company and your case but in light of the offences you committed a custodial sentence must follow."
Nolan will serve half of her sentence in custody and the remainder on licence, with supervision for six months after that and pay a £140 surcharge.
She was disqualified from driving for three years on her release, her licence will be endorsed and she must take an extended driving test.
Judge Rudland also commended the police officers in the pursuit, adding: "I would like to pay particular commend to the police officers driving the vehicles for their calmness, competence and care in dealing with what they were confronted with that day in their line of duty.
"They were terrific and professional. In the various circumstances they were presented with they dealt with them brilliantly."