Highlands & Islands

Grantown on Spey learner's driving 'spectacularly poor'

Inverness Sheriff Court
Image caption The court heard that Cochrane drove "extremely dangerously"

A drunk learner driver drove at excessive speed and on the wrong side of the road on a journey that ended with the car on three wheels.

Michael Cochrane's solicitor told Inverness Sheriff Court that "it was a spectacularly poor piece of driving".

Cochrane, 20, from Grantown on Spey, took a friend's Renault Clio onto the A9 and through Inverness last August.

He has been banned from driving for three years, ordered to do 240 hours unpaid community work and fined £500.

Cochrane was also ordered to sit the extended driving test when his disqualification ended.

He admitted driving dangerously in Boat of Garten, Inverness and along the A9 from the city to Moy.

Cochrane also admitted driving without insurance and driving with one and a half times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

On the trip, he drove at excessive speed and along the wrong carriageway in the face of oncoming cars.

Some of the journey was captured on CCTV cameras and police began looking for him after other motorists phoned in to report the bad driving.

The car was traced to the Longman Industrial Estate and police followed him for almost 10 miles (16km) before the vehicle ground to a halt on three wheels near Moy.

Defence agent Rory Gowans said: "It was a spectacularly poor piece of driving.

"He had been drinking and he took the car and decided to take it a considerable distance. It is inexplicable why he did this but this conduct will not be repeated.

"He has been in the doghouse with his family since the incident."

Sentencing, Sheriff Neilson said: "You were a provisional driver, you have never passed a driving test, you had been drinking and you drove extremely dangerously.

"You are very lucky you didn't kill someone or yourself.

"I would be perfectly entitled to impose a custodial sentence."

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