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Dangerous driver jailed and banned from roads for a decade after ramming police car

John Hendry
John Hendry leaving court on a previous occasion.

A dangerous driver has been jailed and banned from the road for a decade after repeatedly ramming a police car when officers tried to pull him over.

John Hendry pled guilty to a total of nine charges when he appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court, including two charges of dangerous driving, two of driving while disqualified, and two of driving without insurance.

A sheriff told him: “You should not be on the public roads. You’re a danger to people” as he jailed him for more than 11 months.

He was also banned from driving.

Hendry came to police attention when the small black hatchback he was driving made an “erratic right-hand turn” from the Spital onto Merkland Road, near Pittodrie Stadium at 12.45am.

Police signaled for the 26-year-old to stop but he continued until he reached a dead-end, at which point he reversed into the cop car before ramming it a second time, causing more than £2,000 of damage and rendering it undrivable.

Hendry escaped with the police car unable to pursue him, but was later caught after forensic analysis of the car when it was recovered.

Fiscal depute Shona Nicholson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday: “At around 12.45am on June 5 2019 police officers on mobile patrol in a marked car saw a car driving north on the Spital. It was a small black hatchback.

“The accused was driving. There was another male in the front passenger seat.

“It made an erratic right-hand turn at speed onto Merkland Road and drove off.

“Police activated their blue lights and signalled the driver to stop. The car continued over King Street onto Merkland Road East.

“Roadworks on Merkland Road East created a dead-end. The accused turned right into a small car park just off the road where it came to a stop.

“The police officers followed and stopped their car about four or five feet behind the accused’s car at the entrance to the car park.

“As the police officers were about to exit their vehicle, the accused accelerated backwards and struck the front offside of the police car near the headlight.

“The accused continued back onto Merkland Road East and concluded the maneuver facing westbound.

Merkland Road East. Picture by Darrell Benns

“The officer reversed the police car into the middle of Merkland Road East facing eastbound in an attempt to block the accused from leaving.

“The accused accelerated forward and collided with the front and rear nearside of the police car.

“The officer turned the police vehicle however, noted the steering was loose and there was a chemical smell emanating from the dash so did not make any further pursuit. The accused drove away.”

Ms Nicholson told the court the police car was left with £2,039.93 worth of damage including a smashed headlight, a 10-inch dent to a wheel arch, damage to a wheel, scuff marks and a bent steering rack. The number plate was also left hanging off.

The fiscal depute said: “Numerous units were dispatched in the area to search for the car. It was traced outside an address on Linksfield Road with extensive damage.

“Forensic analysis of the inside of the car identified the accused as the perpetrator.”

In a separate incident around 9.30pm on September 2 this year Hendry was driving a motorbike at “excess speed” when he crashed into a car at the junction between Springfield Road and Craigton Road.

Ms Nicholson told the court: “The accused flew over the front bonnet of the car followed by the motorcycle he was on.

“He was not wearing a helmet or any protective clothing.”

Asked by the car driver if he was alright, John Hendry replied: “Aye, I’m sound.”

He then drove off at speed but later attended at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where staff contacted police. He was not seriously injured.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court, Union Street, Aberdeen.

During the hearing yesterday, Hendry also admitted failing to give police information as to the identity of the driver in the first incident, failing to stop and provide information following a collision in relation to the second incident, and failing to comply with a bail condition.

Defence agent Laura Gracie said her client had been “persuaded” to drive the car, adding: “When he became aware the police were looking to stop him he panicked because he knew he was disqualified.”

Ms Gracie said Hendry had just purchased the motorbike for £1,500 and was driving it to his grandmother’s house after a friend who was supposed to meet him and bring a helmet had failed to appear.

She said: “He tells me he was trying to get there as quickly as he could. Unfortunately, he has not been driving particularly well and he crashed into the other vehicle and ended up going over the bonnet.”

The solicitor added John Hendry now accepted he should not be driving.

Sheriff Graeme Napier told Hendry, a prisoner of HMP Grampian: “It’s a correct assessment you have made that you should not be driving.

“You should not be on the public roads. You’re a danger to people.”

He ordered Hendry to be jailed for a total of 10 months plus 44 days in relation to all charges, and banned him from driving for 10 years.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.