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Eight-month prison sentence for drink-driver who smashed into Bishop's Stortford dealership Barons Stansted BMW



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A drink driver who "wiped out" £150,000 worth of BMWs at a showroom in Bishop's Stortford was jailed for eight months on Thursday (November 12).

Jonathan Clarke, 32, a former resident of the town, was also banned from driving for three years following the incident on Sunday September 8 last year at 10.22pm.

He drove a Toyota Avensis at 100mph along the 30mph limit Stansted Road and hit the kerb on a bend, rolling the car carrying two passengers at least twice.

Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110264)
Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110264)

The Avensis ploughed into seven BMWs on the forecourt of Barons Stansted BMW and splattered them with white paint. At the time, Clarke was working as a painter and decorator.

Prosecutor Neil King told St Albans Crown Court that Clarke had agreed to pick up a man and a woman from an address in Stortford.

"The man formed the impression the defendant was drunk – he turned out to be twice over the drink-drive limit," said Mr King.

Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110261)
Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110261)

"His driving became dangerous. He overtook erratically and the man said 'Stop, let me out'. He saw the speedometer was in excess of 100 miles per hour on a 30 mile per hour road."

After the crash, the man managed to clamber out. The woman was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow for treatment.

Clarke ran off but was found next to recycling bins at the entrance to Grange Paddocks and was breathalysed by police.

Clarke, formerly of Sandringham Gardens in Stortford, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident and drink driving. He had four previous convictions for five offences, including one for drink driving in 2015.

Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110261)
Barons BMW, Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford. Damage done to cars on the forecourt. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (43110261)

Defending, Daniel Higgins said: "For the last year the defendant has been living in a tent in Watford. He has a problem with alcohol.

"That night he had been out for a pleasant evening. He said he would provide a lift and stupidly fulfilled that promise. He makes no excuses for his driving."

Mr Higgins said that since the crash Clarke had lost his living as a painter and decorator.

Sentencing him, Judge Caroline Wigin said that his driving could have led to the loss of life.

"It was very bad, dangerous driving indeed. You knew full well you were over the legal limit to drive," she said.

"You took two passengers into your car. One asked you to stop, but you didn't and failed to take a bend. £150,000 worth of vehicles were wiped out."



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