Beds, Herts & Bucks

Handcuffed prisoner who took police car on 39 mile pursuit is jailed

James Marland Image copyright sbna
Image caption James Marland was said in court to have a borderline personality disorder

A handcuffed prisoner who took a police car and lead officers on a 39-mile (63km) pursuit has been jailed.

James Marland, 33, fled from Cheshunt Police Station in Hertfordshire pursued by a helicopter and seven patrol cars.

He reached 100mph (161km/h) and was the wrong side of a dual carriageway for seven miles, St Albans Crown Court heard.

He admitted dangerous driving, threats to kill and assault and was jailed for 42 months.

Marland, of no fixed address, was arrested by Hertfordshire Police on 9 November after his girlfriend made a complaint.

He was found hiding in a cupboard, agitated and aggressive, at her home in Cheshunt while on bail accused of burglary.

Officers left him alone in the car as they collected paperwork, the court heard.

'Heat of moment'

He was stopped near Ware by a "stinger" that burst his tyres, prosecutor Richard Sedgwick told the court.

He then claimed he had taken drugs and was having a mental breakdown so was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

While there, he abused PC Claire Willerton and made threats to kill her.

Defending, Tim Starkey said Marland was at large for only 45 minutes and the threats were "in the heat of the moment".

Judge Marie Catterson said it was "unfortunate" Marland was alone in the car.

She said: "You called her (the woman police officer) thoroughly abusive misogynist names and then made threats to kill her. These were extraordinary nasty threats."

Marland was also banned from driving for four years and seven months.

Ch Insp Ian Butler said procedures had been changed to reduce the chance of a prisoner escaping in the way Marland did.

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