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Nine-year sentence for UK’s ‘fastest speeder’
A getaway driver has been jailed for nine years after being pursued by police on the M6 at speeds of up to 180mph in January this year.
Ben Westwood, who was also convicted for conspiracy to burgle and steal in addition to dangerous driving, is thought to have been trying to outrun a police helicopter at the time.
Since the helicopter was literally the only thing that could keep up with him, the 180mph velocity is only an official police estimate. Even so, Westwood is though to be the fastest speeder ever caught in the UK.
He was driving what’s described as a modified Audi RS5 (pictured above in standard form), valued at £85,000. It was stolen back in August 2011 from Stourport-on-Worcestershire – apparently for the express purpose of being used in series of robberies.
Police have linked the car to 16 raids in total, taking place between August 2011 and January 2012. Although originally white in colour, it was subsequently sprayed silver and then black over this time.
In the early hours of 13 January 2012, following an attack on a petrol station in Wolverhampton, Westwood and his passenger finally abandoned the car in Wednesfield.
But only after a 65-mile chase that involved him driving the wrong way down a motorway slip road and evading police attempts to disable the Audi with a stinger.
At one point the police helicopter reported seeing sparks from the underside of the vehicle – so perhaps he didn’t so much evade as simply ignore. The later attempt to escape on foot was thwarted by police dogs.
Sentencing Westwood to nine years in prison, the judge said:
“This was an atrocious piece of dangerous driving. You drove through the suburban streets of Wolverhampton at speeds which the police car could not keep up.”
“You were driving on the wrong side of the road. There was a moment in that pursuit when the helicopter thought that your intention was to out-run the helicopter.”
Four other men were jailed alongside Westwood, but received no more than four years for their part in the thefts.
Westwood has also been banned from driving for four years.
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