Jail for banned driver who walked out of Mansfield court and drove off

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Shocked Mansfield magistrates watched a man they had just banned from driving get into his car and drive away from the court house, minutes after the hearing.

George Fothergill had been disqualified for 12 months, following a number of traffic offences, when he drove off, on July 19.

Prosecutor Michael Treharne said: “The magistrates were taken aback when they went into the retiring room which overlooks the car park.

“They saw the defendant go to the side of his car and speak on a phone.

“They assumed that he was contacting a friend, but having made the phone call, they were surprised to see him get into the car and drive off fairly rapidly.

“It was as plain as day.”

Mr Treharne said Fothergill had an “extensive” record of driving offences, and was last banned, in 2009, for five years.

Fothergill, 60, of Tring Close, Stoke on Trent, initially denied driving while disqualified, and without insurance, but pleaded guilty when he returned to Mansfield for a trial on Thursday.

Lucy Jones, mitigating, said: “This is idiocy at its best.”

She said Fothergill drove to Nottingham and his car was then taken to a garage, where the wheels were removed to “avoid the chance that he would do it again.”

She said that Fothergill, a welder and labourer, had “very little means.”

District judge Andrew Meachin said: “This was absolutely flagrant.

“He walked out of court and got into his car. He had been disqualified literally minutes before.”

Jailing Fothergill for ten weeks, he told him: “Your defence was that someone else was driving - which was a lie.”

Fothergill was ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge, and banned for 57 weeks.