Coventry car thief drove over kids’ play area to escape police - The Coventry Observer

16th Aug, 2022

Coventry car thief drove over kids’ play area to escape police

Editorial Correspondent 5th Dec, 2019 Updated: 6th Dec, 2019

The police had to abandon their pursuit of a stolen car when the driver dangerously sped across a grassed area where young children were playing.

But just over a week later Michael McDonagh was arrested after crashing as he led officers on another high-speed chase, a judge at Warwick Crown Court has heard.

McDonagh (20) of Doris Armour Walk, Longford, Coventry, pleaded guilty to two charges of driving cars taken without consent and two charges of dangerous driving.

He was jailed for two years after the court heard that at the time he was subject to a community order he had been given in April for burglary and possessing an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Tariq Shakoor said that at 5.30pm on May 21 a police officer in the Willenhall area of Coventry recognised McDonagh when he saw him driving a VW Polo on false number plates.

The officer then saw the Polo again coming towards him along Middle Ride, so positioned his car to stop it.

But McDonagh reversed and then drove into the police car, shunting it backwards, before driving off at speed.

With the officer in pursuit, McDonagh headed along Remembrance Road and Robin Hood Road before going back onto Middle Ride where he mounted the pavement.

He then drove across a grassed area where there were a number of people including children playing, at which the officer abandoned the chase for safety reasons.

Nine days later McDonagh, who had dumped the Polo after getting away, was seen by the same officer as he was driving a Vauxhall Corsa which had been taken in a robbery in April.

When he ignored an attempt by the officer to get him to stop, there was another pursuit during which he sped along Wyken Croft and into Arch Road where he again mounted the pavement.

But in attempting to get through a narrow gap, he collided with a parked vehicle, after which he abandoned the car and made off on foot.

McDonagh ran down an alleyway and over garden fences before going into someone’s home in Farren Road, but the occupant alerted the police, and McDonagh was arrested shortly afterwards.

At the time, McDonagh was subject to a community order for a burglary at an occupied house in Faulconbridge Way, Warwick, and a later offence of possessing an offensive weapon, a hammer, with which he threatened another man in the street.

Alexandra Bull, defending, said: “He knows he has let his family down and let Your Honour down after Your Honour gave him a chance with the community order.”

And Judge Sylvia de Bertodano commented: “He was before me in April. My words must have still been ringing in his ears when he committed these offences.”

On that occasion she had told him: “The appropriate sentence for the burglary would have been 27 months, and for the offensive weapon three month consecutive.

“If you breach this order, if you steal so much as a packet of Polos from a shop, you will come back here. If I see you again, that is the sentence I will pass.”

In fact she jailed him for two years after making an allowance for the six months he had spent in custody before being given the community order – with concurrent nine-month terms for the dangerous driving offences.

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