Joyrider crashed £35,000 stolen Maserati into lamppost in Portsmouth

Hampshire chief constable Olivia Pinkney

Hampshire police faces traffic police cuts in ‘devastating blow’

A DRIVER crashed a stolen Maserati into a lamppost in a ‘spectacular failing’ after being seen taking it in turns to drive the £35,000 car.

Gary Morrissey, 21, was driving at speeds of up to 55mph in a 30mph zone in Church Road, Portsmouth, a court heard.

Portsmouth Crown Court was told that the keys to the car had been taken in a burglary at Harbour Heights in Portsdown Hill on December 12 last year.

Rob Harding, prosecuting, said: ‘It occurred on the 12 December 2016 where there was a dwelling burglary at Harbour Heights residential block.

‘A number of items were taken but importantly for this case, car keys to a Maserati were taken.

‘At around 2am, that’s the following day, December 13 2016, three or four youths were seen getting in and out of a vehicle having their photograph taken, this being the Maserati.’

Police were called and gave chase, before the defendant crashed the Maserati into a lamppost in Church Road, Portsmouth.

Three people were arrested while Morrissey was linked to the car via DNA from his saliva on the airbag.

Mr Harding added: ‘In terms of the driving of the vehicle, the car was seen at 55mph in a 30 zone.

‘It’s subsequently crashed into a lamppost.’

Morrissey has previous convictions but had not offended for three years, Mr Harding said.

The court heard that Morrissey, of Copnor Road, Portsmouth, had been given a conditional caution by police as he had such a long gap since he committed crime.

But he was prosecuted as he had no driving licence and was unable to complete a driving awareness course that was the condition on the caution issued by police.

Judge Sarah Munro QC imposed an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, with an 18-month driving ban.

Morrissey must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and complete an extended retest to gain his licence back.

He admitted aggravated vehicle taking at his first crown court appearance on June 5, when he was also sentenced.

Judge Munro said: ‘There was a police chase, you wouldn’t stop and drove the car into a lamppost.’

She added the ‘unusual fact’ of the case was him being prosecuted after being issued a conditional caution.

‘You didn’t have a driving licence and you were brought before this court and the rest, as they say, is history.’

The judge imposed a suspended sentence in recognition that Morrissey thought he was being dealt with by caution only.

Sam Barker, for Morrissey, said: ‘Mr Morrissey was with a group of boys, managed to get their hands on this car and took it in turns and it was his turn that ended the taking it in turns.’

He said his client made a ‘one-off and spectacular failing’ in driving the car in the 4.30am crash.