Range Rover driver from Harpenden branded an ‘idiot’ by judge at St Albans Crown Court

The case was heard at St Albans Crown Court

The case was heard at St Albans Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden company director who sped away from the police at 120 miles per hour in his Range Rover and then attacked an officer was described by a judge as driving like ‘an idiot’.

Edward Gormley, 55, of West Way, Harpenden, denied dangerous driving and common assault on PC Ross Little on August 28 last year, but was convicted by the jury of both charges at St Albans Crown Court.

During sentencing last Friday (4), Judge John Plumstead also told Gormley: “You should be ashamed of yourself. Your behaviour was petty, ridiculous and overbearing.”

He banned him from driving for two years, ordered him to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work, pay £3,500 prosecution costs, a £500 fine and £500 compensation to the officer.

The jury heard that officers were on an undercover operation targeting the theft of high-value cars in Harpenden and Redbourn when they saw Gormley’s car being driven at speed.

After pursuing him from Harpenden,and onto the M1 he eventually stopped and said: “It’s my f****** car. It’s not nicked.”

PC Lee Wilkinson told the court that at around a quarter past midnight he was in an unmarked police car with a colleague in Redbourn Lane, Harpenden, when the Range Rover approached at speed.

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He said: “We were there because there had been several thefts of high powered vehicles in the area. We thought it may have been a recently stolen vehicle.”

The officers, who were in a Volvo Estate, turned around, activated their blue flashing lights and horns, and chased the Range Rover along Redbourn Lane onto the A5183 and then onto the southbound M1.

CCTV from the Volvo, which was played to the jury of six men and six women, showed that the police car reached speeds of 90 miles per hour on the single carriageway roads, before reaching 120 mph on the motorway as it pursued the Range Rover, which was undertaking other vehicles.

The video then showed Gormley pull over to the hard shoulder.

PC Wilkinson said that Gormley was shouting and screaming and telling him to “f*** off”.

After being handcuffed, he was taken from the Range Rover by PC Wilkinson and another officer who had arrived on the scene, PC Ross Little.

PC Wilkinson arrested him for dangerous driving and failing to stop for the police.

He said he could smell intoxicating liquor on his breath and Gormley then became a ‘dead weight’ and slid to the ground, where he started thrashing around and had to have leg restraints placed on him.

Gormley refused to provide a breath sample, and the court was told he became a dead weight for a second time. When a police van arrived, he kicked out and hit the stomach and top of the left leg of PC Little.

Prosecutor Philip Levy told the jury that Gormley was breath tested eight hours later, after being taken to hospital. The test proved negative.

Philip Sutton, defending, said Gormley runs a cabling business, employing technicians to carry out installation work.

Judge Plumstead told Gormley: “The police do difficult and dangerous work and must not be assaulted. They have to drag people out of wreckage, at risk to themselves.”

The judge added that he would have ordered the Range Rover to be forfeited had Gormley not sold it.