A MAN who was pursued by officers in Rhyl and Prestatyn and left one policeman fearing a “head-on collision” with him has been spared jail.

Matthew Steele, 32, of St Mungo’s Hostel, London, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 15 months, at Mold Crown Court today (May 21).

He had previously admitted charges of driving dangerously, possession of cannabis, and using a vehicle without third party insurance.


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Prosecuting, Alexa Carrier told the court that, at about 2pm on September 4, 2022, police were alerted to a Vauxhall vehicle in the Rhyl area, which was spotted outside a One Stop shop in the town.

Officers and an armed response vehicle attended, with Steele in the driver’s seat of the car.

As one policeman attempted to take hold of a door handle on Steele’s vehicle, the defendant reversed, hitting the police car as he did.

Though officers attempted to use a taser to restrain Steele, it malfunctioned.

He drove away in the direction of Prestatyn, and was driving on an unnamed road at 2.45pm when another officer noticed him.

Steele then drove with such speed towards the officer that he reversed his own car partly into a bank to avoid the “head-on collision” which he said he feared.

At about 6.50pm that day, another policeman was on patrol in St Asaph when he noticed Steele stood in a wooded area, holding a carrier bag.

He was arrested, and a quantity of cannabis was found in the bag.

Defending Steele, who had four previous convictions for seven offences, but none for motoring matters, Jade Tufail said these offences happened during a “turbulent period” in his life.

But she said there has been a “change in Mr Steele’s lifestyle and presentation over the past six months or so,” having been taken in by London homelessness charity St Mungo’s after being found on the street last December.

“Clearly, his consumption of drugs was a factor,” Ms Tufail said, but adding that he has “stayed out of trouble” since this incident and has shown he can “sustain an offence-free lifestyle”.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Petts told Steele he had narrowly avoided “what, no doubt, would have been a serious collision” with the officer.

He also praised the work of St Mungo’s, for helping to get Steele “settled and off drugs”.

“The proof in the pudding has been in the eating; you’re now in a better place than you were,” Judge Petts told him.

“I do think, therefore, that the best thing to do is keep you in the community, rather than locking you up and risking undoing the work done with you already.

Steele was ordered to complete 30 days’ rehabilitation activity, and was banned from driving for 18 months.

He must then pass an extended re-test before he will be allowed back on the roads.

The cannabis seized from him was ordered to be forfeited and destroyed, while Steele will pay a statutory surcharge.